Karen Muir

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Karen Muir
Karen Muir 1967.jpg
Karen Muir in 1967
Personal information
Full name Karen Muir
National team  South Africa
Born (1952-09-16)16 September 1952
Kimberley, Northern Cape, South Africa
Died 1 April 2013(2013-04-01) (aged 60)
Mossel Bay, South Africa
Sport Swimming
Strokes Backstroke

Karen Muir (16 September 1952 – 1 April 2013)[1][2] was a South African competitive swimmer. Born and raised in Kimberley, she attended the Diamantveld High School (af), where she matriculated in 1970.[3]

On 10 August 1965, aged 12 years, 10 months, and 25 days, she became the youngest person to break a sporting world record in any discipline when she swam the 110 yards backstroke in 1m 08.7s at the ASA National Junior Championships in Blackpool, England.[4][5][6]

Over the following five years she would go on to set fifteen world records in the backstroke at 100 metres, 200 metres, 110 yards, and 220 yards.[7] She also won 22 South African Championships and three US National Championships.[8] Due to the sporting boycott of South Africa during her active career, she was never able to participate in an Olympic Games.[8]

She was elected to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1980. After retiring from her sport, she qualified, through the University of the Orange Free State,[3] as a doctor and practiced in the African continent.[8] Since 2000 she worked as a family physician in Vanderhoof, British Columbia, Canada.[1][9] During 2009, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. On 19 January 2012, it was reported that the cancer had spread.[10]

Muir died of breast cancer at the age of 60 in Mossel Bay, South Africa on 1 April 2013.[1][2][11]

Kimberley's Olympic-sized swimming pool was named the Karen Muir Swimming Pool in honour of the young swimmer, who was nicknamed locally as the "Tepid Torpedo".[3] When Karen Muir revisited the city in 2009 she donated her Springbok blazer to the Diamantveld High School.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Botha, André (2 April 2013). "Karen Muir sterf". Rapport (in Afrikaans). Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Edmonds, Scott (2 April 2013). "Vanderhoof doctor, former South Africa swimming sensation Karen Muir dies of cancer". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Tributes pour in for Karen Muir" Diamond Fields Advertiser 3 April 2013 p 4
  4. ^ History, Swimming South Africa
  5. ^ "South Africa Swimmer, 12, Wins Third Title in Britain", New York Times, 14 August 1965
  6. ^ "Karen Muir: She Just Goes Out and Swims", St. Petersburg Times, 15 August 1965
  7. ^ "Swimming in South Africa", SouthAfrica.net
  8. ^ a b c Karen Muir (RSA) - 1980 Honor Swimmer, International Swimming Hall of Fame
  9. ^ Clarke, Ted. "Doc makes splash at Citizen Iceman". Prince George Citizen. Archived from the original on 15 March 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2009. 
  10. ^ André Botha (17 January 2012). Karen Muir veg nou om haar lewe. volksblad.com (in Afrikaans)
  11. ^ "Muere de cáncer sudafricana Karen Muir, la plusmarquista mundial más joven". TeleSUR (in Spanish). 2 April 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Karen Muir at Wikimedia Commons