Winners: Phyllis Dewar, Swimming

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Phyllis Dewar in her swimsuit.

Phyllis Dewar posing in her swimsuit.
Date: 1934
Collection: Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

1934 - Feature Story

Phyllis Dewar was just 18 years old when she dominated the swimming events at the 1934 British Empire Games in London. Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, reporters dubbed her the “Mermaid of the Plains” as she first established herself as the top woman swimmer on the prairies and then qualified for Canada’s team to the second Empire Games. In Wembley’s Empire Pool, Dewar then established herself as the finest woman swimmer at the 1934 Games, winning individual Gold medals in the 100 yard and 440-yard freestyle finals, while taking two more Gold medals as a member of Canada’s victorious 4x110-yard freestyle and 3x110-yard medley relay teams. Dewar’s talent and tenacity shone through in the medley relay final as she swam the anchor leg for Canada. The English team had led from the start but Dewar launched a furious sprint at the end of the race to pass rival swimmer Edna Hughes of England just before the finish line, securing a Gold medal for Canada.

Career Highlights

  • 1971 Inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame
  • 1938 Gold medal in 4 x 110 yards freestyle relay at the British Empire Games in Sydney, Australia
  • 1934 Bobbie Rosenfeld Award (Canada’s female athlete of the year)
  • 1934 Canadian National Swimming one-mile title
  • 1934 Gold medal in the 110-yard freestyle, 440-yard freestyle, 300-yard medley, 440-yard relay at the British Empire Games in London, England
Phyllis Dewar wearing a sweatshirt.

Phyllis Dewar wearing a Team Canada sweatshirt.
Date: 1930’s
Collection: Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

Phyllis Dewar in the water.

Phyllis Dewar posing in the water.
Date:  1930’s
Collection: Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Photograph of Phyllis Dewar.

Formal portrait of Phyllis Dewar.
Date: 1930’s
Collection: Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

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