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Club History

History of the Thunderbolts

The Thunderbolts Swim Club was formed in 1972 with the amalgamation of the Fort William “Y” Dolphins and the Port Arthur “Y” Marlins Swim Clubs. Under the coaching direction of Don Talbot, former Australian National Swimming Coach, the Thunderbolts quickly rose to the top of the National and International swimming scene.

By 1975, local swimmers were representing Canada at international meets, and swimmers from around the world were coming to Thunder Bay to train with the Thunderbolts. In 1976, the Thunderbolts sent eight swimmers to the Montreal Olympics. The Thunderbolts won the 1977 Women’s Senior Title and the 1978 Overall Winter National Title. One of the most exciting moments in the Thunderbolts history was at the 1977 summer Nationals in Montreal when two Thunderbolt swimmers, Graham Smith and Bill Sawchuk, swam under the world record time for the 200 I.M. Smith out-touched Sawchuk by just one tenth of a second.

At the end of 1978 season, Don Talbot, the Canadian Men’s Commonwealth Games and World Championships Head Coach, left the Thunderbolts Swim Club. The Thunderbolts have experienced many changes through out its history -- one of the most recent major changes was the addition of Head Coach Stewart McLean. Stu has demonstrated that the Thunderbolts are on the path to becoming one of the Country's strong competitive clubs. In the past few years, the Thunderbolts have gained momentum under the direction of Coach Stu, not only demonstrating our successes regionally, but showing our provincial and national presence. The Thunderbolts are proud to call the Canada Games Complex home to our programming, but our long history at Lakehead University will never be forgotten.

We invite past Thunderbolt members and supporters to add to this living history by emailing info@thunderbolts.ca