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Kirkcaldy-born Olympian Kathleen Dawson recognised in New Year Honours

Kathleen Dawson was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours.
Kathleen Dawson.

Kirkcaldy-born Olympic heroine Kathleen Dawson has crowned a fantastic year with an MBE in the New Year Honours’ list.

The swimmer was part of the Great Britain team that struck gold in the inaugural mixed medley relay final in Tokyo in July.

She and teammates Adam Peaty, Freya Anderson and James Guy bagged a new world record, finishing two seconds ahead of the others.

James Guy, Adam Peaty, Kathleen Dawson and Anna Hopkin of team Great Britain celebrate winning gold in the mixed 4x 100m medley relay. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Shutterstock

And dad Paul said Kathleen had enjoyed a fabulous year, despite fears serious injury could derail her Olympic hopes.

“The family are all delighted to hear she had been nominated for an MBE,” he said.

Among them are grandad Bill Dawson, who lives in Kirkcaldy.

“My dad is as proud as could be with Kathleen’s achievements and is over the moon at the recognition of her contribution to swimming and women’s sport in general,” Paul said.

Kathleen Dawson’s Kirkcaldy connection

Kathleen, 24, was born in Kirkcaldy’s Forth Park Hospital.

But she moved to Cheshire when she was just three-years-old.

However, her first swimming experience was at Kirkcaldy swimming pool.

Paul, a former Rosyth Dockyard worker, previously revealed how he took her there when she was still in nappies and she took to it straight away.

Kathleen is now the British and European 100m backstroke record holder and also holds the British record for 50m backstroke.

Kathleen Dawson received an MBE in the New Year Honours. Picture Karl Bridgeman/Getty Images for British Olympic Association.

She also reached the Olympic women’s 100m backstroke final days before her gold medal success.

However, Paul revealed it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

“A few weeks after she broke the backstroke record in Budapest, Kathleen had to pull out of the Glasgow swim meet, the last competition before the Olympics,” he said,

“She had slipped a disc and this demanded a lot of intensive physiotherapy.

“The family were really concerned that her big opportunity might be lost.

“However, she performed brilliantly at the Olympics.”

Toasting New Year Honours recognition

Kathleen has not swum competitively since Tokyo and has been undergoing further physio.

“This looks like it’s now paying great dividends,” said Paul.

The Dawson family, including grandad Bill, mum Sarah, sister Emma-Jane and brother Andrew, all raised a glass to Kathleen to toast her latest success on New Year’s Day.

“It’s amazing to be recognised in the New Year Honours,” said Paul.

“It’s been a fabulous year.”

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