Biography:

When Canada’s freestyle specialist Phyllis Dewar arrived at Berlin 1936 she was favoured for greatness based on her five gold medal performance at the 1934 British Empire Games. Unfortunately, she came down with the flu in Berlin and was eliminated in the semi-finals of the 100m freestyle and was not even able to start the 400m freestyle. She recovered enough for the 4x100m freestyle relay with teammates Irene Pirie, Mary McConkey and Margaret Stone and finished just off the podium in fourth.

A five-time British Empire champion over two Games, Dewar won four gold in 1934 (100 yards freestyle, 440 yards freestyle, 4×110 yards freestyle medley, 3×110 yards medley relay) and one gold in 1938 (4×110 yards freestyle relay). Nicknamed ‘The Moose Jaw Mermaid’, Dewar set Canadian records for 100, 400, 1000 and 1500 yards freestyle at the 1935 Canadian Championships.

After she retired from swimming, Dewar served in the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service. She married Murray Lowery and had four children. After her husband was killed in a car crash, her health declined and she died seven years later in 1961 in Toronto at the young age of 45. 

The Phyllis Dewar Outdoor Pool was named in her honour in her hometown of Moose Jaw. In 1934, Dewar was awarded the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award and Velma Springstead Trophy as the best Canadian female athlete of that year. She was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 1967, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1971 and Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1972.