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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

PHYLLIS DEWAR

Inducted in 1971

Member Details

Date of Birth: March 5, 1916
Place of Birth: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Date of Passing: April 8, 1961
Sport: Swimming
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1935

Set new records in each of the 100-yard, 400-yard, 1,000-yard, 1,500-yard freestyle events and set a record for the mile of 23 minutes and 32 seconds

1934

Bobby Rosenfeld Trophy as woman athlete of the year

1972

Inducted to the Canadian Olympic Sports Hall of Fame

Honoured Member PHYLLIS DEWAR
Inspire

Story

How ironic that one of Canada's greatest swimmers hailed from the flat dry Prairies during the dusty Depression! Yet, it was in 1934 and 1935 that Prairie-born Phyllis Dewar held every single Canadian freestyle swimming record from 100 yards to one mile. She'd already set numerous provincial swimming records. At the 1934 British Empire Games, Dewar set two individual swimming records in the 100-yard and 400-yard freestyle events and was part of the record-setting and gold-medal winning 300-yard medley and 400-yard relay teams. This made her, at that time, the only Canadian to win four gold medals at one Games. Appropriately, she was presented with the Bobby Rosenfeld trophy as the outstanding Canadian female athlete of 1934. But 1934 was only a precursor. The next year, Dewar set new records in each of the 100-yard, 400-yard, 1,000-yard, 1,500-yard freestyle events and set a record for the mile of 23 minutes and 32 seconds. It was only because she came down with the flu that she performed poorly at the 1936 Olympic Games, but at the 1938 British Empire Games she was victorious in the 400-yard freestyle event. When she retired from competitive swimming, she became a WREN in the Royal Canadian Navy, whereupon having been posted to Halifax she met her husband, Lieutenant Murray Lowery. Tragically, both lives were cut short, Lowery's in 1954 in a car accident, and Dewar's, five years later, at the age of 45, due to illness. A swimming facility in Moose Jaw is named in her honour and reminds us all that a hero can come from just about anywhere in Canada - even a swimmer from the Prairies.


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