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Article:Lucy Morton
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{{MedalSport | Women’s [[swimming (sport)|swimming]]}}
 
{{MedalCountry | {{GBR2}} }}
 
{{MedalCompetition| [[Swimming at the Summer Olympics|Olympic Games]]}}
 
{{MedalGold| [[1924 Summer Olympics|1924 Paris]] | [[Swimming at the 1924 Summer Olympics - Women's 200 metre breaststroke|200 m breaststroke]]}}
 
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'''Lucy Morton''' (23 February 1898–26 August 1980) was a [[Great Britain|British]] swimmer who competed in the [[1924 Summer Olympics]] where she won a gold medal in the 200 m breaststroke event.
 
 
==Early life==
 
Lucy Morton (married name Heaton) was born at [[New Tatton]], [[Knutsford]], [[Cheshire]], on 23 February 1898,<ref>England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index: Lucy Morton; Apr-May-Jun quarter 1898; District: Altrincham; County: Cheshire; Volume: 8a; Page: 199.</ref> the daughter of Alfred Morton, a groom in domestic service, and his wife, Jessie, née Bradbury. The family subsequently moved to [[Blackpool]], [[Lancashire]], where her father became an attendant to the mayor of Blackpool with accommodation for the family provided in the town hall. She attended Christ Church School in Blackpool and became a member of Blackpool amateur swimming club in 1908 at the age of ten.
 
 
Following a few years of local club competition, Morton won her first northern counties title in 1913 when, at the age of fifteen, she became the ladies' 100 yards breaststroke champion. In 1916 she held the first world record for the 150 yards backstroke using the traditional English version of breaststroke leg kick on the back and the double overarm action. She also became well known for open-water swims such as the [[Morecambe]] cross bay championship, the [[Mersey]] mile championship, the London two hours race, the [[Preston, Lancashire|Preston]] to [[Lytham]] race (9 miles), and the Preston to [[Freckleton]] race (6 miles), all of which she won.
 
 
==Swimming career==
 
The cancellation of the 1916 [[Olympic Games]] because of the [[First World War]], and then the lack of either breaststroke or backstroke swimming events in the [[1920 Olympic Games]] at [[Antwerp]], deprived her of opportunities for international competition during a period when she was at the peak of her performance. In 1920, aged twenty-two, she held the world record for the 200 yards breaststroke with a time of 3 minutes 6 seconds. In the same year she was also the [[Amateur Swimming Association]] (ASA) champion for both the 200 yards breaststroke and the 150 yards backstroke. The local council in Blackpool supported her efforts and recognized her potential Olympian status: when, in February 1924, she was invited to participate in the trials for the British swimming team for the Paris Olympics, Blackpool council immediately opened its Cocker Street baths, which were closed for the winter season and not scheduled to reopen until Easter, to facilitate her training. With the help of her coach, R. L. Swarbrick, who was the baths' superintendent, she trained before and after her day's work at St Anne's post office.
 
 
Morton was selected a member of the 443-strong British team for the [[1924 Summer Olympics|1924 Olympic Games]] held in [[Paris]]. In addition to officials and coaches, the team comprised 307 competitors, including thirteen female swimmers who were to contest the five female swimming events. The swimming events took place in July 1924 at the new purpose-built 50 metre pool at [[Tourelles]] on the outskirts of Paris, which had seating for 10,000 spectators and the innovative feature of lane ropes with cork floats. She was one of three British swimmers in this inaugural 200 metre breaststroke event and won her heat in 3 minutes 29.4 seconds, ensuring her passage to the final. She was not, however, the favourite, as the American swimmer [[Agnes Geraghty]] had qualified faster in 3 minutes 27.6 seconds, while Morton's team-mate [[Irene Gilbert]], who had been ill and in bed for several days prior to the heats, had qualified for the final and was the current world record holder in the event. In the final the American led through the 150 metre mark and then Morton closed the gap to win in a time of 3 minutes 33.2 seconds, just ahead of the American with the other British swimmers, [[Gladys Carson]] ([[Leicester]]) and Irene Gilbert ([[Sheffield]]), in third and fifth places. The only non-American female winner in the swimming and diving events at the Paris games, Morton was the first British woman to win an Olympic gold medal for swimming.
 
 
Following her Olympic success Morton was given a public welcome on her arrival home, later followed by a civic reception and musical evening hosted by the mayor of Blackpool, when she was presented with the diploma awarded to her by the International Olympic Committee and also with a piano which had been donated, at a cost of £82 4s. 4d., through public subscription. She recorded her thanks to R. L. Swarbrick, her teacher and coach throughout her career, "for his untiring efforts in making me what I am".<ref>Blackpool Gazette and Herald, 8 Nov 1924</ref>
 
 
==Retirement==
 
On her birthday in 1927 she was married, at Christ Church, Blackpool, to Harry Heaton, the 29-year-old son of Reuben Heaton, master draper. She had met her husband, a post office clerk and later assistant head postmaster in Blackpool, at a Post Office dance. They lived throughout their married lives at 13 Mereland Road in the [[Marton, Blackpool|Marton]] area of Blackpool.
 
 
Having retired from competitive swimming after the Olympics, Lucy Heaton committed herself to helping other young swimmers in the Blackpool area, a role that she fulfilled for over forty years. In March 1928 she was awarded an Amateur Swimming Association teaching certificate, with advanced honours, and taught many youngsters over the years, including local primary school children, pupils of the collegiate school in Blackpool, pupils from Highfurlong School for Pupils with Special Educational Needs, and also young swimmers in Blackpool amateur swimming club.
 
 
She also fulfilled other supporting roles in the competitive swimming world including acting as a coach and chaperone, and at the age of seventy-two she served as a competitors' steward at the Amateur Swimming Association championships at Derby baths in Blackpool. In 1970 she received the Harold Fern award for her outstanding contribution to swimming. In 1988 she was inducted into the [[International Swimming Hall of Fame]] as a pioneer swimmer, one of only thirty-four British swimmers recognized in the forty years of its existence. She died at the Victoria Hospital, Blackpool, on 26 August 1980, and was cremated at Lytham Park, Blackpool. She was survived by her husband and son, and by her sister.
 
 
==References==
 
{{Reflist}}
 
* Birth, marriage and death certificates
 
*Wealth at death £2433: probate, 5 Nov 1980, CGPLA Eng. & Wales
 
* F. G. L. Fairlie, ed., British Olympic Association: official report of the VIIIth Olympiad, Paris, 1924 (1925)
 
* Amateur Swimming Association, Handbooks [1913, 1914, 1921, 1924, 1925]
 
* Blackpool Gazette and Herald (16 Oct 1920); (12 Sept 1922); (14 Feb 1924); (5 July 1924); (19 July 1924); (24 July 1924); (6 Sept 1924); (8 Nov 1924); (24 Feb 1927); (7 Aug 1948); (28 Aug 1980)
 
;Archives Blackpool Library
 
:Correspondence with Katherine Banks
 
:Likenesses double portrait, photograph, 1924 (with C. Jeans at the Olympic games)
 
;Popperfoto, Northampton
 
:four photographs, 1924, repro. in Fairlie, British Olympic Association, facing pp. 48, 240-41
 
:two photographs, repro. in Blackpool Herald and Gazette (16 Oct 1920)
 
:photograph, repro. in Blackpool Herald and Gazette (12 Sept 1922)
 
:photograph, repro. in Blackpool Herald and Gazette (24 July 1924)
 
:photograph, repro. in Blackpool Herald and Gazette (24 Feb 1927)
 
 
==External links==
 
*[http://www.databaseolympics.com/players/playerpage.htm?ilkid=MORTOLUC01 profile]
 
 
{{Footer Olympic Champions 200 m Breaststroke Women}}
 
 
{{Persondata <!-- Metadata: see [[Wikipedia:Persondata]]. -->
 
| NAME = Morton, Lucy
 
| ALTERNATIVE NAMES =
 
| SHORT DESCRIPTION = Swimmer
 
| DATE OF BIRTH = 1898
 
| PLACE OF BIRTH =
 
| DATE OF DEATH = 1980
 
| PLACE OF DEATH =
 
}}
 
{{DEFAULTSORT:Morton, Lucy}}
 
[[Category:1898 births]]
 
[[Category:1980 deaths]]
 
[[Category:English swimmers]]
 
[[Category:Female breaststroke swimmers]]
 
[[Category:Olympic swimmers of Great Britain]]
 
[[Category:Swimmers at the 1924 Summer Olympics]]
 
[[Category:Olympic gold medalists for Great Britain]]
 
[[Category:Olympic medalists in swimming]]
 
 
[[de:Lucy Morton]]
 
[[he:לוצי מורטון]]
 
[[no:Lucy Morton]]
 
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