CANADIAN SWIMMING HISTORY
In 2008, the Canadian Olympic Swimming Team celebrated its Centennial participation and competition at the Modern Olympic Games (2009 is Swimming Canada’s Centennial Celebration). The first Canadian swimmer to represent Canada was Robert Zimmerman of Montréal, who swam in the 100m Freestyle and the 100m Backstroke in London at the 1908 Games. Zimmerman also competed in springboard Diving at these Games, making him the only two-sport aquatic specialist at any Olympic Games for Canada. Since that year, the Canadian swimming team has competed in every Olympic Games, with the lone exception of the USSR (Moscow) Games of 1980, when the Canadian Government followed the advice of the USA government and boycotted these Olympics as a form of punishment for the host nation, the USSR, for invading Afghanistan in December of 1979. Unfortunately, this was a complete travesty of justice, and the athletes from several countries were not able to compete at the 1980 Games. The Canadian swim team of that time was an exceptional one, with a number of swimmers ranked in the top ten in the world prior to the Games, and medals were anticipated.
It has been a long and adventurous journey for the hundreds of swimmers who have represented Canada over this past one hundred years. There have been a total of 40 Olympic medals won by Canadian swimmers.
In the World Medals Rankings, Canada is Ninth, out of 45 countries with medals at the Olympic Games, the top international-medals ranking in all sports for Canada at the Summer Olympic Games.
There is a strong and positive environment in Canadian swimming at this time, and it is generally expected that the future of its international participation will continue to be successful in producing more podium finishes. Many younger international stars on the 2008 team who performed exceptionally well in Beijing, e.g. Ryan Cochrane, with a coveted Bronze medal in the 1500m Freestyle, will create a very robust and competitive team in the years to come.
The sport of swimming has progressed dramatically over the years, and this past Olympics garnered the highest percentage of World and Olympic records than in any previous quadrennial.
This is an exciting and very challenging time for the sport around the world, and it will take much diligence, preparation and commitment on the part of the Swimming Canada Natation, the coaches, and the swimmers to produce the next 40 Olympic swimming medals.
Canadian Swimming medalists/finalists – Olympic Games 1908-2008
One hundred years of achievement and celebration
Compiled and Written by: Jack G. Kelso
Great moments in Canadian swimming history
With Swimming Canada celebrating its 100th anniversary it’s a great opportunity to relive some of Canada’s great Olympic moments in swimming. “The Olympics are number-one for the swimmers,” said Nick Thierry, editor for SwimNews magazine.