Coaching great secures place in CW Hall of Fame

Prominent Canadian swim coach inducted

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CALGARY - The newest member of the Canada West Hall of Fame is Deryk Snelling, the conference announced Tuesday. Snelling was considered to be one of the greatest swimming coaches on earth.

Snelling spent 16 years at the University of Calgary, creating a Dinos Dynasty. In that time, nine of his men’s teams won national championships, while 11 captured Canada West titles. He coached three women’s teams to conference glory as well.

Swimmers like Tom Ponting, Mark Tewkbury, Graham Smith and Jon Cleveland found great success under Snelling’s tutelage. Snelling also coached CIS Female Swimmers of the Year, Suki Brownsdon and Lisa Dixon.

Snelling was the CIS Coach of the Year an astounding seven times, but it was his work on the international stage that built up his reputation. Snelling coached 60 Canadian swimmers to the Olympics. Of those, 21 came home with medals draped around their necks. He helped his swimmers capture seven world records combined, and wrote literature for others to follow if they also wanted to achieve greatness in the pool.

Snelling created a legacy that lives on at the University of Calgary. The CW Hall of Fame nod is the latest in a lengthy list of accolades.

“It is a great honour for our team and for the Snelling Family. Deryk’s leadership produced so many leaders in many field. His legacy within Alberta Swimming will be present always as he showed the province what high performance swimming really looked like,” said Mike Blondal, Dinos Swimming Head Coach.

Snelling is already a member of four Hall of Fames, including the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He also coached athletes at the Pan American Games, Commonwealth Games, and World Championships.

Snelling was awarded an Order of Canada. He passed away in 2021 at the age of 87.


For the last century, organized university sport has been a central part of the student experience at institutions across Western Canada. Beginning with the University of Manitoba capturing the first Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (WCIAU) men's hockey banner in 1919-20, student-athletes have been competing to reach their full potential in sport and the classroom, while enriching campus life. 

To commemorate 100 years of university sport across Western Canada, the Canada West Hall of Fame was created in the spring of 2019. This year's induction class will be unveiled throughout the summer of 2022.


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About Canada West

Since 1972, Canada West (CW) has been a leader in Canadian university sport, working to provide our student-athletes the opportunities to excel in sport, the classroom, and their communities. CW and our 17 members from across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba collectively carry on a legacy of competitive excellence, as our champions proudly go on to represent the conference at U SPORTS national championships.

Canada West – training leaders, building champions.