Laurie Lawrence, a top athlete in his own right, is a former Australian Rugby Union Representative and Olympic and World Champion Swim coach.
There would be few, who do not know of Laurie Lawrence or his spirited personality, his sense of humour or his zest for life. For those who know him well there would be no disputing that his manner is direct, sincere and honest. Whatever Laurie is involved in, he gives all of himself. He cares deeply about the people he influences and he refuses to rest until he has achieved his best. Laurie has been claimed as one of Australia’s favourite sons, and is admired by many Australians, from little children who attend his coaching clinics to International Corporate Leaders who look to him for inspiration and new ideas.
Laurie Lawrence is a remarkable Australian – a maker of champions, capable of lifting the spirits of those around him to soaring heights. Swim coaching has played an important part in Laurie’s life. He was able to balance his time around the pool with his studies, which resulted in Laurie achieving a Bachelor of Arts Degree, a Teaching Diploma in Physical Education, and a Teaching Diploma. These qualifications have served Laurie and his pupils admirably during his coaching career. Laurie Lawrence has represented Australia in World Championships, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games as a swim coach. During the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane (1982) and Edinborough (1986), and the Olympics Games in Los Angeles (1984) and Seoul (1988), Laurie’s pupils were standout performers. They succeeded in breaking many National, Commonwealth and World Records in a number of their gold medal winning performances. Lawrence protégés, Jon Sieben – Los Angeles (1984) and Duncan Armstrong – Seoul (1988), both won Olympic gold medals for Australia. Another Lawrence pupil and world record holder, Judy Young, won Para-Olympic gold for Australia when she was victorious in the special section of her 400 metre freestyle event in Seoul in 1988.
Other world-renowned Lawrence champions include Steven Holland and Tracey Wickham. Holland, Australia’s 1500 metre freestyle Champion of the Seventies set many world records during his career and won an Olympic bronze medal in the men’s 1500 metre final at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. While Wickham, by the time she retired in 1982, was regarded as one of Australia’s greatest ever women swimmers. Tracey had won 2 World Cups, 4 Commonwealth Games individual gold medals and held numerous world records over distances such as the 400, 800 and 1500 metres. The last of these records took the best swimmers in the world nine years to break.
During his distinguished career, Laurie has been honoured with many awards. In 1988 he was voted All Sports “National Coach of the Year” in the Sports Australia Awards conducted by the prestigious Confederation of Australian Sports. Australia Day 1989 saw the Prime Minister of Australia, the Right Honourable R.J.L. Hawke, AC, MP, present Laurie with an Australian Achievers Award to honour his selection by the National Australia Day Council as an Australian of the Year finalist. A rare honour indeed! Following this, the Governor of Queensland, Sir Walter Campbell, presented Laurie with the Advance Australia Award during a ceremony at Government House in Brisbane.
The business world and the competitive sports arena make similar demands for high individual achievement, which explains why Laurie today is one of the most sought-after motivational speakers in Australia. Most notably, Laurie recently played a huge part in Australia’s success at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and the Sydney 2000 Olympics as one of the Australian team motivators.
For many, Laurie represents the beloved Aussie larrikin who loves an audience and a stage, but this is only a tiny glimpse of the man. He sets his goals and encourages those within his influence to work towards personal perfection. And not only is he in demand, he gets results.
Laurie Lawrence is a True Australian in Heart, Mind and Soul.