Where are they now: 1992 Paralympian Tammy Corness

Canadian Paralympic Committee

February 03, 2022

Checking in with the Canadian record-breaking Para swimmer


The 1992 Paralympic Games turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Para swimmer Tammy Corness, forced to an early competitive retirement due to injury and illness.

Corness, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 18 months old, actually learned to swim before she learned to walk. As an infant she attended physiotherapy sessions and one of the exercises was swimming. 

Her first steps weren’t until she was four but there were setbacks due to surgery. At age seven she joined the swimming team at the Centre for Child Development in Surrey, B.C., and thus began her journey to the top of the Canadian Para swimming mountain.

At the Barcelona Games, she placed eighth in the 200-metre freestyle and 10th in the 100-metre backstroke.

At one point in her career, she was the Canadian record holder in the S6 50, 100, and 200 metre freestyles, 100 backstroke and the SB5 100m breaststroke.

Below she looks back on some of her favourite memories from competing for Canada:  

What did it mean to you to be able to represent Canada at the Paralympic Games? 
It was a lifelong dream for me to represent Canada at the Paralympic Games. It was such an honour to represent my country and wear the maple leaf on my back. It was also wonderful to compete at the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona, which were considered a turning point for the Paralympic Movement. 

Being a part of those Games, having the Spanish crowd fill the stands, and knowing that I was representing Canada on the world stage was an experience I will never forget.

What are some of your favourite memories from competing for Canada?  
The 1992 Paralympics were my only international competition, as I unfortunately had to retire sooner than I had planned due to injury and illness. However, my favourite memories from those Games were walking into the stadium at the Opening Ceremony and hearing the roar of the crowd. It is an unforgettable feeling! 

I had never felt so proud to be Canadian and so proud of all my hard work to qualify for those Games. My other favourite memory is taking 10 seconds off my personal best time in the 200 freestyle and qualifying for the final. I couldn’t have been happier to have reached my goal of making the final and to have smashed my personal best time made it all the better!

What is your proudest sporting achievement from your career?  
My proudest sporting achievement from my career was qualifying for the Paralympics and finishing eighth in the final of the 200 freestyle.

What are you up to now? 
I am a Grade 2/3 teacher. I have been teaching since 1999 and absolutely love working with my students and witnessing their growth.

What message would you share with current athletes on the road to the Paralympic Games?  
My message to current athletes would be to trust in their training because their hard work will pay off. Enjoy the process of training and treasure the memories and friendships you make during your athletic career.

Fast Facts 
Favourite TV show: The Paralympics of course!
Favourite activity: Going for walks with my family
My personal hero: My parents, Terry Fox, and Rick Hansen
Favorite Emoji: Happy face 
Favourite Hobby: Reading
Favourite Motto:  Embrace the moment

Past Editions:
Simon Richard – Goalball 
Kirstie Kasko – Para Swimming
Paul Clark – Para Athletics
Tim McIsaac – Para Swimming
Sarah Mailhot – Para Swimming
Patrice Bonneau – Para Cycling
Michelle Salt – Para Snowboard
Karolina Wisniewska – Para Alpine Skiing
Andrew Haley – Para Swimming
Amy Alsop – Goalball
Chris Stoddart – Para Athletics

Megan Muscat – Para Athletics

Michelle Stilwell – Para Athletics

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