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First entering the pool with her hometown Port Arthur YMCA Marlins in the early 1970s, this future world class swimmer joined the Thunder Bay Thunderbolts with coach Don Talbot in 1972. Competing in many disciplines, it was in freestyle and individual medley events that she truly shone.

Whenever Liz dove into a pool it seemed no record was safe, owning the rights to numerous provincial and national records and top 10 rankings for much of the decade. A long distance specialist, her time of 8:55.10 in the 15 & over category in the 800m freestyle event set a Manitoba record that remained unbroken for an amazing 22 years. Smashing the 1500m Canadian Senior women's record by more than 48 seconds she earned a 1st place ranking nationally, and a spot in the record books as a Canadian record holder from Thunder Bay.

Earning a spot on Canada's National Swim Team she went on to represent her country with distinction on the international and world stage. At her first of such meets in England, which featured swimmers from 15 different countries, Liz returned home with double bronze. Other international honours followed, claiming medals at meets in West Germany, Holland and Paris.

Competing at the 1975 World Aquatic Championships in Cali, Columbia, her first world competition, she put in an impressive 5th place finish in the 400m IM and an 8th place showing in the 800M freestyle. At the 1977 World University Games in Sofia, Bulgaria she returned home with silver medal honours claimed in the 400m freestyle and as part of the 400m relay team.

A member of the Lakehead University Swim team from 1975-78, her record setting CIAU career included an incredible 13 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze medal, making her one of Canada's premier swimmers, and an LU record holder.

Following her competitive swimming career, Liz served as a coach with the Lakehead University Varsity Swim Team and for close to 20 years has enjoyed a career in education in Thunder Bay, passing on her talents to the next generation of young athletes.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 27, 2003

Liz McKinnon

Thunder Bay
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