Bill Sawchuk
Personal information
Full nameWilliam M. Sawchuk
National teamCanada
Born (1959-01-08) January 8, 1959 (age 62)
Roblin, Manitoba
StrokesFreestyle, butterfly, medley
ClubThunderbolts Swim Club
College teamUniversity of Florida

William M. Sawchuk (born January 8, 1959) is a Canadian former swimmer, competing in the butterfly, freestyle and medley events during the 1970s and early 1980s.

In his international debut as a 16-year-old at the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City, he won a bronze medal for his third-place finish in the 200-metre individual medley. He represented Canada at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, where he competed in the preliminary heats of the 200 and 400-metre freestyle events, the 400-metre individual medley, and the 4×200-metre freestyle relay.[1]

At the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Alberta, Sawchuk led the three Canadian relay teams to gold medals in the 4×100-metre freestyle and the 4×100-metre medley events, and a silver in the 4×200-metre freestyle. In individual competition, he also won two silver medals in the 100-metre freestyle and 200-metre individual medley, and two bronzes in the 100-metre butterfly and 400-metre individual medley – for a total of seven medals.

Sawchuk accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he swam for coach Randy Reese's Florida Gators swimming and diving team in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Southeastern Conference (SEC) competition in 1979 and again in 1981 and 1982.[2] In his three years as a Gator, he was recognized as the SEC Male Swimmer of the Year in 1979, and earned six All-American honours.[2] At the 1981 NCAA Swimming Championships, Sawchuk, together with Gator teammates John Hillencamp, Geoff Gaberino and David Larson, won the national title in the 800-yard freestyle relay.[2]

After his freshman season, Sawchuk turned in a five-medal performance at the 1979 Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, winning three silver medals in the 400-metre individual medley, 4×100-metre freestyle relay and 4×100-metre medley relay, and a pair of bronze medals in the 200-metre butterfly and 4×200-metre freestyle relay. Afterward, he withdrew from the University of Florida to train full-time for the 1980 Olympics. Sawchuk qualified for the 1980 Canadian Olympic team, but was unable to compete at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow when Canada joined the United States-led boycott over the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.[3]

Sawchuk returned to the University of Florida after the 1980 Olympics, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science in 1984.[4]

See also


  1. ^, Olympic Sports, Athletes, Bill Sawchuk Archived April 4, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved May 13, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Florida Swimming & Diving 2014–15 Media Supplement Archived February 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 78, 79, 84, 87, 96, 102 (2014). Retrieved May 13, 2015.
  3. ^ Tom Hawthorn, "When Olympic dreams die," The Globe and Mail (April 9, 2008). Retrieved May 13, 2015.
  4. ^ University of Florida Alumni Directory, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (2000).