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Our Top 10 Canadian Swimmers of All Time!


We thought now is a great time to look at our swimming heritage and pick our Top 10 List of all-time Canadian Swimming Champions.  Enjoy!

 

  1. Curtis Myden
  • 3 Olympic Bronze Medals - 2 1996, 1 2000
  • 19 International Medals Over 6 Years - 4 Gold, 8 Silver, 7 Bronze

Curtis Myden is one of the lesser-known swimmers on this list. This Olympic medalist hails from Calgary, Alberta. He competed at three consecutive Olympics 1992, 1996 and 2000. Over a run of 6 years, he was one of the most dominant Canadian swimmers of the late ‘90s which earned him a spot at number 10 on this list.

  1. Nancy Garapick
  • 2 Olympic Bronze Medals* - 1976
  • 1 Individual World Record - 200 BK from 1975-1975
  • 10 International Medals Over 4 Years - 3 Silver, 7 Bronze
  • Canadian Sports Hall Of Fame

Nancy Garapick is the competitor who had their success the youngest on this list. She claimed her world record in the 200 BK when she was just 13! The next year she competed in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal when she was just 14! Where she came 3rd in both the 100 and 200 backstroke. Although she would have come first as the two athletes that came first and second were both East German and were discovered to have been doping for years. Nonetheless, Nancy Garapick has completed major feats in the swimming world.

  1. Mark Tewksbury
  • 3 Olympic Medals - 1 Gold, 1 Bronze - 1992  :  1 Silver - 1988
  • 4 Individual SCM World Records - 100 BK from 1991-1993
  • 13 Individual Medals over 6 years - 6 Gold, 5 Silver, 2 Bronze
  • Lou Marsh Award
  • International Swimming Hall Of Fame
  • Canadian Sports Hall Of Fame

Mark Tewksbury is one of the most influential swimmers on this list. He competed in two consecutive Olympics and received 3 medals for his efforts there. He also received the Lou Marsh Award which is awarded to the best Canadian athlete in a specific year. He has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall Of Fame as well as the Canadian Sports Hall Of Fame. But his work that he is most known for is his advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community near the tail end of his career as well as after he retired. 

  1. Kylie Masse
  • 1 Olympic Bronze Medal - 2016
  • 1 Individual World Record 100 BK - 2016-2016
  • 14 International Medals 2015-Present - 6 Gold, 4 Silver, 4 Bronze
  • First Canadian Woman to become A World Champion 

Kylie Masse is one of the two swimmers who are still swimming that are on this list. She has competed in one Olympics and will most likely compete in the 2021 Olympics. She has held one individual world record as well as a slew of international medals to go with it. She was the first Canadian woman to become a world champion in swimming and therefore the first woman to defend her world title in the 100 BK. She is only 24 years old so she still can complete a lot more in her career which is why she is at number 7.

  1. George Hodgson
  • 2 Olympic Gold Medals 1912
  • 1 Individual World Record - 1500 FR from 1912-1923
  • 2 International medals Over 1 Year
  • International Swimming Hall Of Fame
  • Canadian Sports Hall Of Fame
  • First Canadian To Win A Swimming Medal At the Olympics
  • Silver Medal for Gallantry in Saving Life at Sea

George Hodgson is the oldest person on this list as he competed in the Olympics before world war one. He is in both the International Swimming Hall Of Fame as well as the Canadian Sports Hall Of Fame. He was the first Canadian to win an Olympic medal in swimming, where he won 2 golds in both the 1500 FR and the 400 FR. After the 1912 Olympics, he promptly retired. He then fought in world war 1 in the air division of the Canadian Navy where he won a Silver Medal for Gallantry in Saving Life at Sea which is given to non-British military personnel for their gallantry in saving British military personnel at sea.

  1. Ryan Cochrane
  • 2 Olympic Medals - 1 Silver - 2012, 1 Bronze - 2008
  • 24 International Medals Over 9 years - 9 Gold, 7 Silver, 8 Bronze
  • Most World Championship Medals for a Canadian Swimmer (8)

Ryan Cochrane is one of the most recent swimmers on this list as he recently retired in 2017. He has accumulated 24 international medals over his 9 years of international competitions. He also competed in 3 consecutive Olympics; 2008, 2012 and 2016. He has the longest career out of everyone on this list and he was the most dominant Canadian swimmer in the late 2000s. As he broke Brent Hayden’s record for most world championship medals. Cochrane’s new record is 8. He was the face of Canadian swimming for a solid 10 year period. His dominance and longevity is why he is number 5 on our list.

  1. Penny Oleksiak
  • 4 Olympic Medals - 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze - 2016 
  • 3 World Junior Records - 100 FR & 100 FL from 2016 - present  :  100 FR SCM 2016 -2018 
  • 17 International Medals 2015-Present - 9 Gold, 6 Silver, 8 Bronze
  • Lou Marsh Award

Penny Oleksiak is the youngest competitor on this list as in 2020 she is 19 years old. Over her 5 years of international competition she has amassed 17 international medals, yet failing to receive an individual medal on the senior world championship stage. Her performance at the 2016 Olympics was unbelievable to witness and her 2 junior world records that she accomplished there still stand today. She was also the recipient of the Lou Marsh award in 2016. She still has a long way to go in her career if she chooses to keep swimming, and if she has another historic Olympics then she will no doubt be higher on this list in the future.

  1. Victor Davis
  • 4 Olympic Medals - 1 Gold, 2 Silver - 1984  :  1 Silver 1988
  • 3 Individual World Records - 100 BR from 1982 - 1989
  • 16 Individual Medals over 6 years - 7 Gold, 7 Silver, 1 Bronze
  • Order Of Canada
  • International Swimming Hall Of Fame
  • Canadian Sports Hall Of Fame

Victor Davis is one of the most well known Canadian swimmers, He competed in two consecutive Olympics and held 3 world records that lasted for 7 years. He was awarded an Order Of Canada as well as being inducted into the International Swimming Hall Of Fame and the Canadian Sports Hall Of Fame. He was one of the greatest breaststrokers in Canadian swimming history. Sadly a few months after his retirement he was struck by a car in Montreal and died in hospital 2 days later at only 25 years old.  

  1. Elaine Tanner
  • 3 Olympic Medals - 2 Silver, 1 Bronze - 1968
  • 5 Individual World Records - 100 BK from 1967-1968  :  200 BK from 1967-1968
  • 15 International Medals over 3 years - 6 Gold, 8 Silver, 1 Bronze
  • Order Of Canada
  • 1st Female To Win Olympic Medal In Swimming For Canada
  • Lou Marsh award
  • Canadian Sports Hall Of Fame

Elaine Tanner was the first Canadian woman to win a swimming medal at the Olympics as well as the first woman to ever win 4 gold medals at the commonwealth games, as well as the first person to ever win 7 medals at the commonwealth games. At those historic games, she was only 15! She was given the order of Canada as well as inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall Of Fame. She was also the recipient of the Lou Marsh Award, making her the youngest recipient of this award. After 3 short years in the international scene, she retired due to mental health reasons following her performance at the 1968 Olympics. She now owns a charity organization with her husband called Team Underdog.

  1. Alex Baumann
  • 2 Olympic Gold Medals - 1984
  • 5 Individual World Records - 200 IM from 1981-1987  :  400 IM from 1984-1987 
  • 15 International Medals over 7 years - 9 Gold, 2 Silver, 3 Bronze
  • Order Of Canada
  • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 
  • Masters World Record (45-49 age group) 200I M from 2009-2015
  • Canadian Sports Hall Of Fame

Alex Baumann is our #1 Greatest Canadian swimming Olympian of all time. He has had one of the greatest and long lasting effects in the swimming world since his retirement, as well as one of the greatest swimming careers for a Canadian swimmer. He has a plethora of medals (most of them gold), an order of Canada as well as a medal bestowed upon him from the queen. Since his retirement, he has been the high-performance summer sports director for Canada, Australia and New Zealand. He also held a master’s world record for 6 years from 2009-2015. While he only has 2 Olympic medals, his dominance, as well as his effect on the sport post-retirement, earns him our number 1 spot.