It was at Los Angeles 1984 where Canada’s butterfly specialist Tom Ponting won his first Olympic medal (a silver in the 4x100m medley relay), with Victor Davis, Sandy Goss and Mike West, and made the final of the 200m butterfly finishing sixth and was ninth in the 100m butterfly. At Seoul 1988, Ponting won his second career Olympic silver medal in the 4x100m medley relay medal with Davis, Goss and Mark Tewksbury. He also made both butterfly finals finishing seventh in the 100m butterfly and fourth in the 200m butterfly. In his last Olympic appearance and final year of competition, at Barcelona 1992 Ponting swam the 4x100m medley relay morning heats with Mark Tewksbury, Jon Cleveland and Stephen Clarke, with Marcel Gery replacing him in the final to win the bronze medal. Individually, he was 16th in the 100m butterfly and 13th in the 200m butterfly. Ponting is the only Canadian swimmer to win three Olympic medals in three different Olympic Games.
Along with his Olympic medals, Ponting is a six-time Commonwealth Games medalist winning his first international medal in 1982 (100m butterfly). In the next two Commonwealth Games, he won another five medals, including two gold in the 4x100m relay (1986, 1990). At the 1987 and 1991 Pan Pacific Games, Ponting won three silver medals and one bronze, and at the 1983 Summer Universiade, a 4x100m medley silver and 100m butterfly bronze. During his career he won 33 national titles and set three world records (100m butterfly in 1989, 4x100m medley relay in 1991 and 1992). Twice Ponting won the butterfly FINA Overall World Cup (1989, 1992) and was second in 1990.
Ponting started swimming with the North Y Torpedoes before joining the Thornhill Swim Club, where he swam until moving to the University of Calgary Swim Club in 1979 under the direction of Deryk Snelling, and later where he studied international trade. He broke the world and Canadian records in the 100m butterfly (52.62 seconds) at the 1989 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) swimming championships. He retired in 1993 and started coaching in Canada. His son Mackenzie was an elite swimmer.
Ponting won the Government of Canada Award four times, was named the 1985 City of Calgary Athlete of the Year and, in 1989 Swimming Canada Athlete of the Year. He was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1998.
|1984 Los Angeles||Aquatics - Swimming||Butterfly 200m - Men||6|
|1984 Los Angeles||Aquatics - Swimming||Butterfly 100m - Men||9|
|1984 Los Angeles||Aquatics - Swimming||Medley Relay 4x100m - Men||Silver|
|1988 Seoul||Aquatics - Swimming||Butterfly 200m - Men||4|
|1988 Seoul||Aquatics - Swimming||Butterfly 100m - Men||7|
|1988 Seoul||Aquatics - Swimming||Medley Relay 4x100m - Men||Silver|
|1992 Barcelona||Aquatics - Swimming||Butterfly 200m - Men||13|
|1992 Barcelona||Aquatics - Swimming||Butterfly 100m - Men||16|
|1992 Barcelona||Aquatics - Swimming||Medley Relay 4x100m - Men||Bronze|