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Swimming community mourns passing of long-time friend, volunteer, official

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Swimming Canada and the entire swimming community lost a dear friend and long-time volunteer last month.

Lyse Tremblay, whose involvement in the sport spanned over 25 years, passed away in Montreal on Jan. 11 following a long bout with cancer. She was 63.

Known as Lyson to her friends and colleagues, she was a FINA open water referee and represented Canada at many international events. Domestically, she was involved as an official at all levels of competition over the years, from regional to national.

Described as a proud ambassador of Swimming Canada, she was also part of numerous organizing committees for events such as the Olympic Trials, World Championship Trials, the 2005 FINA World Championships in Montreal, the 2014 Masters World Championships also held in Montreal, as well as several age group championships.

“Lyson had been heavily involved in swimming for more than 25 years. Her children swam at Club Torpille in Repentigny. That’s when I got to know her at regional association meetings when she was treasurer, and a long friendship ensued,” said close friend Christian Blais, a former president of the Fédération du natation de Québec.

“She was someone you could always count on and her energy and good spirit were contagious. She was a unifying force and everyone greatly appreciated her presence. Athletes, coaches and officials always enjoyed being around Lyse and chatting with her. She was so much fun, never a dull moment.”

Carole Thomas, herself a long-time swimming official, was also a close friend.

“Lyson was full of energy, passionate about swimming and an exceptional woman. She devoted herself to swimming for more than 25 years. She was always available to help and was involved in several organizing committees of international, national, provincial and regional swimming competitions, never worrying about the time she put in.

“She was an outstanding, dynamic instructor who contributed to the development of countless officials in the province of Quebec. She left no one indifferent and her smile was contagious.”

The FNQ and L’Association des entraîneurs de natation du Québec both paid tribute through emotional messages.

“It is with great sadness that we learned of Lyse’s passing. For more than 25 years, Lyson was an important figure in swimming in Quebec. Hers is a very painful loss for our entire community,” wrote the FNQ.

The AENQ’s message read in part: “Lyse was a dedicated volunteer and above all, she was deeply loved and appreciated by all. A dear friend of our aquatic community, she will be sorely missed. She will leave a huge void within our large family of swimming officials and coaches.”

Lyse Tremblay is survived by her three children, Louis-René, Caroline and Alexandre Hébert, as well as her grandchildren, brothers and sisters, and many extended family members.