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Judith Grinham

Full name: Judith Brenda Grinham (-Rowley, -Roe)
Nickname(s): Judy
Gender: Female
Born: March 5, 1939 in Neasden, Greater London, Great Britain
Affiliations: Hampstead Ladies Swimming Club
Country: GBR Great Britain
Sport: Swimming

Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)


Judy Grinham’s first success came in 1953 when she won the Middlesex girls 100 yards backstroke as a member of Hampstead Ladies SC. She never reached the final of an ASA junior event, but had already won two international races for Britain when she won her first national title in 1955. A successful round of internationals galas and the retention of her ASA title in the summer of 1956 secured her place in the team for Melbourne Olympics. At the Games, Judy won the 100 metres backstroke in 1:12.9 seconds, which was the first world long-course record for the event, and she was the first British woman swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal for 32 years. As a relief from the pressures of world class backstroke swimming, Judy Grinham turned to the freestyle event in 1957, winning the ASA 200 yards title, but the following year she reverted to her former style and enjoyed an outstanding season. At the Commonwealth Games she won the 100 yards backstroke with a new world record of 1:11.9 seconds and this was also ratified as a record for the marginally shorter 100 metres distance. She then won a second gold medal and shared in a second world record in the medley relay, before completing her medial haul with a bronze in the freestyle relay. Later in the season, she won the 100 metres backstroke at the European Championships to become the first woman ever to hold the Olympic, European and Commonwealth titles. At the European Championships she also won a silver medal in the freestyle relay and bronze medals in the individual 100 metres freestyle and the medley relay. Judy, who in addition to her international championship honors won seven ASA titles, retired from competitive swimming on her 20th birthday and married the journalist Peter Rowley soon afterwards.


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1956 Summer 17 Melbourne Swimming Women's 4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay Great Britain GBR 8
1956 Summer 17 Melbourne Swimming Women's 100 metres Backstroke Great Britain GBR 1 Gold WR

Women's 4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T IST CTAS
1956 Summer 17 Melbourne Swimming Great Britain GBR Final 8 4:35.8 1:09.0 2:17.8
1956 Summer 17 Melbourne Swimming Great Britain GBR Round One Heat One 4 QU 4:34.6 1:07.4 4:33.6

Women's 100 metres Backstroke

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1956 Summer 17 Melbourne Swimming Great Britain Final 1 WR 1:12.9
1956 Summer 17 Melbourne Swimming Great Britain Round One Heat One 1 QU/OR 1:13.1
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