The late Wilf Strom of Winnipeg built Canada’s para-swimming team into an international powerhouse in the 1980s, the effects of which still reverberate today. Strom has been named as an inductee in the coach category for the 2015 Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame.
It was while working with his star para-swimmer Tim McIsaac, Canada’s most successful Paralympian with 28 medals, that Wilf Strom and his wife Audrey Strom devised the tap system for blind swimmers (Audrey is also entering the Hall this year in the builder category). In this system the visually impaired swimmer is tapped on the head just before the wall, and rotates on the turn like a sighted swimmer. It’s a method still in place in 2015.
“I have to give credit to my coaches for that,’’ said McIsaac. “My desire was to be the best I could. In them doing their job as coaches to help me be the best I could, they felt it was a skill I needed to learn if I wanted to get better. They were really the driving force behind it.’’
Strom strived for fairness and equality for para-swimmers and tapping is still the most significant breakthrough in swimming for athletes with a visual impairment.
Strom is part of a magnificent group of seven being inducted in to the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame for 2015. He will be officially celebrated at a Gala on November 27 in Ottawa. Tickets are available for purchase at paralympic.ca/canadian-paralympic-hall-of-fame.
About the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame
Initiated in 2000, the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame recognizes and celebrates those who have made a significant contribution to the growth and development of the Paralympic Movement in Canada. These individuals will be acknowledged within the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame Honoured Members section located in the Olympic and Paralympic Gallery at Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in Calgary, Alberta. Joining the ranks of many incredible individuals who have established the success of the Paralympic Movement, inductees to the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame will be celebrated and admired by all Canadians who visit Canada's Sports Hall of Fame now and in the future. Typically, the Canadian Paralympic Committee holds an induction process every two years.