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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Virginia Harrison (nee Cooper)

Virginia Harrison (nee Cooper)

Member 1987

Virginia swam for the Sandy Bay Club from 1960 to 1968. Her dedication and superb skill and strength made her one of Australia's top backstroke swimmers. At a State level she won 13 backstroke titles.

In Melbourne in 1962 she was a finalist in the Australian Women's 220 yard backstroke. Two years later in Sydney (1964), Virginia won a Silver medal in the 100 metre backstroke and a Bronze in the 200 metre. At the time many people felt she should have been selected in Australia's team for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In 1965, to prove that the Australian selectors could have been wrong, Virginia won Tasmania's first ever Gold medal in swimming, by winning the 220 yard event at the Australian titles in Hobart. All in all, at the Australian level, Virginia won 1 Gold, 2 Silver and 4 Bronze medals, from the 10 finals she contested. In 1965 Virginia was named Sportsman of the Year, the only time a swimmer has been given this honour.