Karen Muir
Karen Muir 1967.jpg
Karen Muir in 1967
Personal information
Full nameKaren Muir
National team South Africa
Born(1952-09-16)16 September 1952
Kimberley, Cape Province, Union of South Africa
Died1 April 2013(2013-04-01) (aged 60)
Mossel Bay, Western Cape, South Africa

Karen Muir (16 September 1952 – 1 April 2013)[1][2] was a South African competitive swimmer. Born and raised in Kimberley, she attended the Diamantveld High School, where she matriculated in 1970.[3]


On 10 August 1965, aged twelve years, Muir became the youngest person to break a sporting world record in any discipline when she swam the 110 yards backstroke in 1m 08.7s at the ASA National Junior Championships in Blackpool, England.[4][5][6]

Over the following five years Muir would go on to set fifteen world records in the backstroke at 100 metres, 200 metres, 110 yards, and 220 yards.[7] She also won 22 South African Championships and three US National Championships.[8] Due to the sporting boycott of South Africa during her active career, she was never able to participate in an Olympic Games.[8]

Muir was elected to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1980. After retiring from her sport, she qualified, through the University of the Orange Free State,[3] as a doctor and practiced in the African continent.[8] Since 2000 she worked as a family physician in Vanderhoof, British Columbia, Canada.[1][9] During 2009, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. On 19 January 2012, it was reported that the cancer had spread.[10]

Muir died of breast cancer at the age of 60 in Mossel Bay, South Africa on 1 April 2013.[1][2]

Kimberley's Olympic-sized swimming pool was named the Karen Muir Swimming Pool in honour of the young swimmer, who was nicknamed locally as the "Tepid Torpedo".[3] When Muir revisited the city in 2009 she donated her Springbok blazer to the Diamantveld High School.[3]

See also

  • List of members of the International Swimming Hall of Fame
  • World record progression 100 metres backstroke
    1. ^ a b c Botha, André (2 April 2013). "Karen Muir sterf". Rapport (in Afrikaans). Retrieved 2 April 2013.
    2. ^ a b Edmonds, Scott (2 April 2013). "Vanderhoof doctor, former South Africa swimming sensation Karen Muir dies of cancer". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
    3. ^ a b c d "Tributes pour in for Karen Muir", Diamond Fields Advertiser, 3 April 2013, p 4
    4. ^ History[permanent dead link], Swimming South Africa
    5. ^ "South Africa Swimmer, 12, Wins Third Title in Britain", The New York Times, 14 August 1965
    6. ^ "Karen Muir: She Just Goes Out and Swims", St. Petersburg Times, 15 August 1965
    7. ^ "Swimming in South Africa" Archived 8 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine, SouthAfrica.net
    8. ^ a b c Karen Muir (RSA) – 1980 Honor Swimmer Archived 7 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine, International Swimming Hall of Fame
    9. ^ Clarke, Ted. "Doc makes splash at Citizen Iceman". Prince George Citizen. Archived from the original on 15 March 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2009.
    10. ^ André Botha (17 January 2012). "Karen Muir veg nou om haar lewe". volksblad.com (in Afrikaans)

    External links