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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

GEORGE BURLEIGH

Inducted in 2015

Member Details

Date of Birth: 1914
Date of Passing: 1984
Sport: Swimming
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1930

Won Bronze medals in the 400 yard and 1500 yard Freestyle and a team Gold medal in the 800 yard Freestyle Relay at the British Empire Games in Hamilton

Honoured Member GEORGE BURLEIGH
Inspire

Story

The Great Depression of the 1930’s was considered the "The Golden Age of Swimming". By the age of 16, George became the youngest swimmer ever to represent Canada at 1930 British Empire Games in Hamilton winning Bronze medals in the 400 yard and 1500 yard Freestyle and a team Gold medal in the 800 yard Freestyle Relay.  Between 1930 and 1938 George held every Canadian Freestyle record from 50 yards to one mile.   George also swam to victory in a number of open water events winning several Gap to Gap and Across-the-Bay races in Toronto Bay where evading the many boats in the water and their noxious fumes was as big an obstacle as the physically punishing swim. George's competitive career came to an end at the 1938 British Empire Games in Sydney, Australia.  As the only Canadian to compete in three successive Games, he finished fourth in the 100 yard Freestyle.

With the support of a number of coaches, he quickly developed into a juvenile champion. Despite his small 5 foot 7 inch frame, George held a fierce competitive streak and an unquenchable thirst to win. Unlike many of his peers in his day, and clearly ahead of his time, he believed strongly that a serious training regime was mandatory to achieve the best results, a principle widely adopted by others in the years that followed. George always held true to his roots and even long after his competitive swimming days concluded, he continued to coach the next generation of young swimmers in his community.


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