Crapp, Lorraine J. (1938—)

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Crapp, Lorraine J. (1938—)

Australian swimmer. Born in 1938 in Australia; married Bill Thurlow (a physician).

First woman to swim the 400-meter freestyle in under five minutes; first Australian—male or female—to hold world records in all freestyle races at the same time; broke 23 world records and won 9 Australian championships; won three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals in the British Empire and Commonwealth Games; won Olympic gold in the 400-meter freestyle (1956) and team gold in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay (1956); won an Olympic silver in the 400-meter freestyle (1960).

Shortly before the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, Lorraine Crapp became the first woman to swim the 400-meter in less than five minutes. During the Games, she took the 400-meter freestyle from teammate Dawn Fraser with a time of 4:54.6, a new Olympic record. Fraser's turn came in the 100-meter, which she won in 1:02.0. Along with teammates Fraser, Faith Leech , and Sandra Morgan , Crapp was also the recipient of a gold medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay; the U.S. team took the silver.

When Crapp arrived for the 1960 Olympics in Rome, she had secretly married Dr. Bill Thurlow the night before. Officials and the Australian press greeted the news like indignant parents, and the morale of the quiet, introspective swimmer suffered. She returned home with only a silver in the 400-meter freestyle and retired after the Rome Olympics.