Lillian Watson

Lillian Debra Watson (born July 11, 1950), commonly known by her nickname Pokey Watson, and later by her married name Lillian Richardson, is an American former competition swimmer, two-time Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in three events.

Lillian Watson
Personal information
Full nameLillian Debra Watson
National teamUnited States
Born (1950-07-11) July 11, 1950
Mineola, New York
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight146 lb (66 kg)
StrokesBackstroke, freestyle
ClubSanta Clara Swim Club

As a 14-year-old, she represented the United States at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.[1] Watson won a gold medal as a member of the first-place U.S. team in the women's 4×100-meter freestyle relay, together with her teammates Sharon Stouder, Donna de Varona and Kathy Ellis. The four American women set a new world of 4:03.8 in the event final.[1][2] She also swam the backstroke leg for the gold medal-winning U.S. team in the preliminary heats of the women's 4×100-meter medley relay,[1] but did not receive a second medal because only relay swimmers who competed in the event final were eligible under the 1964 rules. Four years later at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, she won a gold medal for her first-place performance in the women's 200-meter backstroke, setting a new Olympic record of 2:24.8.[3]

Watson broke Dawn Fraser's six-year-old world record in the 200-meter freestyle (long course) on August 19, 1966, with a time of 2:10.5, and held the record for one year. She was part of several world record performances in relay events.

Watson was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an "Honor Swimmer" in 1984.[4]

See also


  1., Olympic Sports, Athletes, Pokey Watson. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  2., Olympic Sports, United States Swimming at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  3., Olympic Sports, Swimming at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games, Women's 200 metres Backstroke Final. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  4. International Swimming Hall of Fame, Honorees, Lillian "Pokey" Watson (USA). Retrieved September 8, 2015.

Preceded by

Dawn Fraser
Women's 200-meter freestyle
world record-holder (long course)

August 19, 1966 – August 19, 1967
Succeeded by

Pam Kruse

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