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Tom Alexander

Name

Tom Alexander

Community

Thunder Bay

Induction Sport

Swimming

Induction Year

2011

Biography

Moving to Thunder Bay at a young age, this future Olympian became a member of the Port Arthur YMCA Marlins. Joining the Thunder Bay Thunderbolts in the early 1970s, he contributed his talents to their highly successful program for close to a decade, adding to their medal haul at meets across Canada and the United States.

Specializing in the 400m and 1500m freestyle events, he earned a spot on Canada's National Swim team, going on to represent his country at competitions throughout North America and abroad, including France's highly competitive Tilt Invitational Meet and events in Holland, Germany, and Switzerland.

His bronze medal performances in the 400m and 1500m freestyle events at the 1975 Canadian Championships earned him a trip to the 1975 Pan-American Games in Mexico City where he represented his country with distinction with 4th and 5th place showings.

At the 1976 Olympic Trials his first of two bronze medals came in the 1500m. His second came with his powerful come-from-behind-performance in the 400m freestyle, a performance that bettered his previous time by 5 seconds and earned him a coveted spot on the Canadian Olympic Team. At the Olympic Games in Montreal, his time of 4:05.63 placed him near the middle of the pack amongst the top 47 swimmers in the world.

Receiving a scholarship to Auburn University in Alabama, he not only represented the school in meets, but he also earned a 4th place finish for Canada in the 1500m freestyle event at the 1977 World Student Games in Sophia, Bulgaria. Attending Lakehead University in 1979, he swam for LU in GPAC and CIAU events.

Remaining active in sports while pursuing a global teaching career, he passed on his knowledge to others coaching swimming in the Bahamas and rugby in Africa. Upon his return to Thunder Bay in 2000, he continued his sports building by dedicating himself to the advancement of rugby through the development of the Lakehead Rugby Football Club and by coaching a high school cycling team.

This outstanding athlete was selected as a runner in the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay, a fitting tribute to his contribution to Canada's Olympic and international swimming history.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 24, 2011