Renowned drowning prevention advocate set to receive international award

21 July 2017
It takes a whole community approach to reduce the incidence of drowning, not only in Australia but around the world. One person making a big impact in this area is Royal Life Saving Society Infant Aquatics Program Ambassador Laurie Lawrence.

Laurie Lawrence in the water with mums and babies during an infant aquatics classLaurie is a legendary swimming coach and international water safety advocate who travels far and wide encouraging parents to understand the importance of introducing swimming and water safety education to their children from the very early months of life. He recently visited WA’s south-west, spreading this message to families in an area which has experience 19 fatal drownings in the past 5 years, while a further 48 people have been hospitalized due to non-fatal drowning incidents.

His work in the area of drowning prevention is soon to be internationally recognized, with Laurie set to receive the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Gold Medallion Award at a ceremony in the United States in late August.

Bruce Wigo, ISHOF President, says “The purpose of the Gold Medallion Award is to provide positive role models for today’s youth. While Laurie Lawrence is a legend in the world of competitive swimming as a coach, he is less well known for his many entrepreneurial talents and the work he has done in collaboration with the government of Australia in the field of water safety and drowning prevention."

Although swimmers he coached managed to set over seventeen world records, and he coached Aussie teams to three Commonwealth Games and three Olympic Games, the achievement Laurie is most proud of is his promotion of swimming and preventing the tragedy of drowning through his internationally acclaimed Water Safety Programs. “Kids Alive” has provided the parents of every newborn child in Australia with an educational packet of information about the importance of being water safe and learning to swim.

Laurie also runs a chain of swim schools, and has developed the world’s first cloud-based learning management system that delivers online training for swim instructors through his “World-Wide Swim School.”

Royal Life Saving Society WA wishes to congratulate Laurie on receiving this recognition through the ISHOF Gold Medallion award, and looks forward to continuing a long partnership him as we work together to promote the importance of swimming education for children and infants, with the ultimate goal of achieving zero childhood drownings in our community.