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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

GRAHAM SMITH

Inducted in 1986

Member Details

Date of Birth: May 9, 1958
Place of Birth: Edmonton, Alberta
Sport: Swimming
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1973-1982

17 Canadian, 5 Commonwealth Games, 2 World records

1976

Montreal Olympic Games - Silver medal, 4 x 100m medley relay

1978

Gold medal, 200m individual medley, World Aquatic Championships

Lou Marsh Trophy

Lionel Conacher Award

Norton Crowe Award

1979

NCAA triple crown (three individual gold medals, one relay medal)

Honoured Member GRAHAM SMITH
Inspire

Story

Graham Smith was born to swim. His father, Don Smith, was a prominent swimming coach. His brother, George, and sister, Sandra, swam for Canada from 1967 to 1970. Another sister, Susan, joined the national team in 1972. A younger sister, Becky, was an Olympic bronze medalist in 1976. It was Graham, however, who established the most impressive record among this incredible family. He amassed a total of 56 gold, 23 silver, and eight bronze medals in Commonwealth, Olympic, national, and world championship events. When Montreal hosted the Olympics in 1976, Smith had his heart set on winning a gold medal for his father, who was seriously ill at the time. Though he narrowly missed an individual medal placing in two events, Smith didn't come away empty handed; he helped the men's 4 x 100m medley relay team claim the silver medal. After Smith's father passed away shortly after the Olympics, an Edmonton swimming pool was re-named in his honour. The Donald Smith Pool just happened to be the site of the 1978 Commonwealth Games aquatic events, and it was in this pool that Graham washed away his Olympic disappointment and established his own swimming legacy. He won a record six gold medals in the 100m and 200m breaststroke, the 200m and 400m individual medley, the 400m freestyle, and the 4 x 100m medley relay. In addition, he set a remarkable five Commonwealth Games and three Commonwealth records. Despite these outstanding achievements, the pinnacle of his career was yet to come. Just a few weeks later, at the world championships in West Berlin, he won the 200m individual medley event in a world record time of 2:03.65, beating out three other world record holders in the process. Smith later attended the University of California at Berkley, where he championed the school's swim team to six U.S. National Collegiate Athletic Association swimming titles. He was also the first Canadian to win an NCAA triple crown in 1979, with three gold medals and a relay title to his name. After returning to Canada to complete his degree, he led the University of Calgary's swim team to six national titles. Nineteen-seventy-eight, however, remained his most exceptional year. He received the Lionel Conacher Trophy as Canada's top male athlete, the Norton Crowe award as Canada's top male amateur athlete, and the Lou Marsh Trophy as the Canadian Press choice for the nation's most outstanding overall athlete. Smith also received an honoured place in the Canadian Aquatic Hall of Fame in 1986.


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