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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

DEBBIE MUIR

Inducted in 1995

Member Details

Date of Birth: June 12, 1953
Place of Birth: Calgary, Alberta
Sport: Synchronized Swimming
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

1975

Suzanne Eon Trophy - most promising coach (Synchro Canada)

1986, 1988, 1991

Coaching Excellence Award (Coaching Association of Canada)

1989

Alberta Female Amateur Coach of the Decade

Honoured Member DEBBIE MUIR
Inspire

Story

Their faces aren't the ones on television. They don't ascend podiums to receive medals. But, coaches are the backbone of all successful sports programs. And, in the 1980s, as Canada emerged as one of the elite members of the synchronized swimming community, it was coach Debbie Muir who guided Canadian athletes to victory. Muir began swimming in 1965 as a member of the Calgary Aquabelles synchronized swimming club. She won bronze at the 1967 Canadian championships in the junior solo category, and in 1973 was a member of the Aquabelles team that captured Canada's first silver medal in synchro swimming at the World Aquatic Championships in Belgrade, Yugoslavia A year later, at only 21, Muir began coaching with the Calgary Aquabelles. In 1975, she was awarded the Suzanne Eon Trophy as synchro's most promising coach. The next year, she was named a national coach and assumed the position of head coach at the Aquabelles. She remained the Aquabelles' head coach for a decade, during which time the club's swimmers captured 22 national titles. Her first international success came at the 1978 World Aquatic Championships, when the Aquabelles' Helen Vanderburg won gold in the solo and then teamed with Michelle Calkins to win gold in the duet. Muir was named head coach of Canada's national team in 1981. She worked both with the Aquabelles and the national team until 1986, when she became the full-time national team head coach, a position she held until 1991. It was during this period that Canada achieved some of its greatest synchro successes. The highlights included Olympic gold medals in 1988 in both solo (Carolyn Waldo) and duet (Waldo and Michelle Cameron) as well as silver medals in the same two events at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Muir's teams achieved double-gold medals in solo and duet at both the 1986 and 1990 Commonwealth Games and won the team gold at both the 1983 and 1987 Pan-American Games. From 1978 to 1991, when she retired from active coaching, Muir-coached athletes captured seven out of a possible twelve gold medals at the World Aquatic Championships. She received numerous awards for both her dedication to coaching and the standards of excellence achieved by her athletes. Three times she was recognized with a Coaching Excellence Award from the Coaching Association of Canada, and in 1989 she was named Alberta's female amateur coach of the decade. Muir continues to coach young athletes but has also taken her expertise into the corporate world where she runs her own business offering corporate and executive training and coaching.


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