Vancouver swimmer Irene Strong had always been one of Canada’s best female athletes, but her achievements were overshadowed by the country’s preoccupation with World and Olympic figure skating champion Barbara Ann Scott. In 1946, Strong had been presented with the Women’s Amateur Athletic Federation of Canada’s prestigious Rose Bowl trophy for setting 12 Canadian swim records that year. Strong went on to compete for Canada at the 1948 Olympic Games in London. In 1949, with Scott retired, Strong was recognized for her athletic prowess as Canada’s top female athlete. During that year her achievements included breaking her national breaststroke record in the 100 yards by 14 seconds. Strong also won the 100 yard and 200 yard breaststroke event in record time and the 100 yard backstroke final at the British Empire Games team trials in Vancouver. When 20-year-old Strong was selected as Canada’s top female athlete for 1949, she was reported as holding 19 national swimming records.

Wendy Long

© 2012, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. All Rights Reserved.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans