If you have no plan, you are treading the path of failure. Phil was the perfect architect, he made plans and his planning was professional and total. And his execution – nothing short of poetic. It was only after Laurie became friendly with Debbie Flintoff-King and her coach and husband Phil King that he became aware of just how ruthless, persistent and single-minded they were in their pursuit of excellence and Olympic gold.
Laurie recounts the first time he ever encountered David Berkoff at the Olympic Games. The closest thing he’s ever seen to a fish, Laurie says. Best known for his powerful underwater start, the eponymous “Berkoff Blastoff”. He completes almost half of the 100m backstroke underwater, taking only a few breaths throughout the race. David is a remarkable man with high aspirations. Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in two events. Berkoff was a backstroke specialist who won a total of four Olympic medals during his career at two different Olympic Games.
Laurie tells the story of the incomparable Dawn Fraser. Dawn helped shape Laurie’s love of swimming and as a starry-eyed kid used to chase her around the Tobruk pool hunting for autographs. Dawn won the most gold medals by any Australian at the Olympics. She was the first woman to break 60 seconds for the 100m freestyle, held the 100m freestyle record for 15 years and held the world record for 8 years after her forced retirement.
Laurie tells the story of Jon Sieben, a young kid who at 17 years of age won the Olympic gold medal in the 200m butterfly, beating not 1 but 2 world record holders.
Of all the young swimmers Laurie has coached over the years, Laurie believes that no one has ever attacked his Olympic dream with more intelligence or purpose than Jon Sieben. In this story, Laurie speaks of 2 different morals that he believes provides the basis for success.
In this episode Laurie Lawrence interviews Steve Holland, the greatest distance swimmer Laurie believes the world has ever seen. With Laurie as his coach, Steve (at only 15 years of age) broke world records on numerous occasions.
Laurie and Steve speak of their journey together from “shy skinny nervous kid” to the youngest ever world record holder.
This episode is brought to you by Swimming Australia.
In this episode, Laurie tells the story of Steve Holland; OAM, Commonwealth Games Champion & Olympic Medalist. With Laurie as his coach, 15-year-old Steve broke the world record for 800m and 1500m freestyle – both in the same race.
From a “shy, skinny, nervous kid” to world record holder and champion, this is Steve’s story as told by Laurie Lawrence.
Book reference: Lawrence of Australia, Chapter 18 “Stanley – Steve Holland”
In this episode, Laurie tells us the story of Duncan Armstrong, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Champion, and Order of Australia Recipient. Duncan, coached by Laurie Lawrence, won Olympic gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.
Laurie takes us back to Duncan’s teens where his swimming career started at A.C.I. Lawrence Swimming Club. He recounts Duncan’s relentless pursuit of Olympic gold.
Book reference: Lawrence of Australia, Chapter 13 “Doing What the Opposition Won’t – Duncan Armstrong”
Debbie Flintoff-King is a Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games athlete, Order of Australia Recipient and Sport Australia Hall of Fame inductee. In her career, Debbie won gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympics plus a total of seven medals over three Commonwealth Games appearances.
In this episode, Laurie takes us back to 1990 when Debbie was preparing for the Auckland Commonwealth Games, striving to realise her dream of winning three consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medals.
Book reference: Lawrence of Australia, Chapter 12 “A True Champion – Debbie Flintoff-King”
Long-distance freestyle swimmer, Julie McDonald, was coached by Laurie throughout her career. Julie debuted at the 1986 commonwealth Games, securing a silver medal in the 800-metre freestyle.
In 1987 at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Brisbane, Julie came head to head with world-record holder, Janet Evans. This episode is a blow by blow account of the lead up to this highly anticipated 1987 race and Laurie’s pool-side perspective of the battle.
Book reference: Lawrence of Australia, Chapter 5 “Belief – Jules”
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It all started with a crying four-year-old Glenn Buchanan, learning to swim in a baby pool in Townsville, alongside his hesitant swim coach, Laurie Lawrence.
Fast forward to 1984, and Laurie has a front-row seat to Glenn’s bronze medal performance at the LA Olympics. Laurie passionately takes you back to where it all began for Glenn and the journey that led them both to the world stage.
Book reference: Lawrence of Australia, Chapter 4 “One Step at a Time – Glenn Buchanan”
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