Swimming legend and national treasure Dawn Fraser AC, MBE has been awarded Life Membership of Swimming Australia at the 110th Annual General Meeting this week.
Regarded as one the finest female sprint swimmers in the world, Fraser won four gold and four silver Olympic medals across the course of her brilliant career which spanned more than a decade throughout the 50s and 60s.
Having held 39 world records – 27 of them individual – the lovable larrikin was the first swimmer to win the same event at three consecutive Olympic Games, claiming gold in the 100m freestyle in 1956, 1960 and 1964.
In 1964 she was fittingly named the Australian of the Year and in 1965, was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. In subsequent years, Fraser was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1998. As part of the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours she was elevated to a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) – the highest honour one can receive.
The now 82-year-old has also amassed worldwide accolades, with the International Olympic Committee naming her the World's Greatest Living Female Water Sports Champion in 1999.
Swimming Australia President John Bertrand said he was thrilled to recognise one of our most decorated athletes with Life Membership.
“As a Board, endorsing Dawn as a Life Member of Swimming Australia was one of the easiest decisions we’ve made, and I can’t think of a more deserving recipient,” Bertrand said.
“I don’t throw around the word ‘legend’ very often, but Dawn is a legend of our sport and the epitome of the word.
“Her achievements in the pool will forever be proudly etched in Australia’s history. What she accomplished is nothing short of astounding and since her retirement, she has continued to give so much to our sport – you won’t find a more passionate person about swimming than our 'Dawnie’."
Upon receiving the award, Fraser said she was honoured to receive Life Membership of Swimming Australia.
“After 60 odd years I think it is an absolute thrill and when John Bertrand rang me yesterday fortunately my daughter and grandson were in the car and they were so excited, and I was excited too.
“I think it is a wonderful thing that has been done for me and I am so proud I am an Australian swimmer.”
Fraser said she was thrilled to continue to play a role in Australian swimming.
“I love seeing all the young kids coming through and I am mentoring a few of them, including a few Para athletes. I really get enjoyment from seeing them improve their times and they enjoy swimming as much as I used to.”
Scott Talbot, the son of the late Jan Cameron OAM, was also on hand at the AGM to accept her Life Membership. Cameron was posthumously awarded Life Membership in 2018 along with Laurie Lawrence.
Life Membership is a prestigious level of recognition for swimmers, coaches, administrators, officials and volunteers. To view all Life Members of Swimming Australia, click here.