Bruce Robertson

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Team Canada Medal Count

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In his first major international competition at Munich 1972, Canadian swimmer Bruce Robertson was entered in seven events. He won a silver medal in the 100m butterfly behind American phenom Mark Spitz. As a member of the 4x100m medley relay, Robertson won a bronze medal with Erik Fish, Bob Kasting and Bill Mahony (with Bill Kennedy swimming in the heats). He finished fifth in the 4x100m freestyle relay, seventh in the 4x200m freestyle relay and was eliminated in the heats of the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle. At Montréal 1976, which was his last international competition, Robertson swam in the morning heats for the 4x100m medley relay and was replaced by Clay Evans for the final, with Canada winning a silver medal. Individually, he was eliminated in the first round of 100m freestyle and the semi-finals of the 100m butterfly.

A butterfly specialist, by the end of 1972 Robertson was world ranked number two. At the first ever World Championships in 1973 in Belgrade, Robertson won Canada’s only gold medal, in the 100m butterfly, and in the 4x100m medley relay he entered the pool with Canada in seventh, and closed to third winning the bronze medal. At the 1975 World Championships, he was twice fourth (100m butterfly, 4x100m medley relay). A six-time medalist at the 1974 Commonwealth Games, Robertson won two relay golds (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley relay), two silver (100m and 200m freestyle) and two bronze medals (100m butterfly, 4x200m freestyle relay). At the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City, he captured three silver medals in the three relays and two bronze medals (100m freestyle, 100m butterfly). Between 1971 and 1977, Robertson won over 50 medals at the national level.

Robertson started swimming at the age of five, joined the Canadian Dolphin Swim Club in 1969 under the direction of coach Deryk Snelling, and was a member of the national team by 1971. Retiring from competitive swimming in 1977, Robertson returned to Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia and swam on the varsity team, also earning a Bachelor of General Studies in 1977. Professionally, he became a certified chartered accountant and was an independent consultant providing strategic advice to public and private sector organizations. Settling in Manotick, Ontario, Robertson swam at the master’s level and remained involved in sports administration with Commonwealth Games Canada and as Vice President of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

In 1972, Robertson was named Canada’s outstanding male swimmer and in 1973, Canada’s Male Athlete of the Year. In 1974, he was awarded the Order of Canada and in 2002, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal. Robertson was inducted into Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1973, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1977, British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in 1978 (his father Sandy is also a member), as well as the Canadian Aquatic Hall of Fame and the Swimming Canada Circle. 

Olympic Highlights

Games Sport Event Finish
1972 Munich Aquatics - SwimmingFreestyle Relay 4x100m - Men5
1972 Munich Aquatics - SwimmingFreestyle Relay 4x200m - Men7
1972 Munich Aquatics - SwimmingMedley Relay 4x100m - MenBronze
1972 Munich Aquatics - SwimmingButterfly 100m - MenSilver
1972 Munich Aquatics - SwimmingFreestyle 100m - Men -
1972 Munich Aquatics - SwimmingFreestyle 200m - Men -
1972 Munich Aquatics - SwimmingFreestyle 400m - Men -
1976 Montreal Aquatics - SwimmingButterfly 100m - Men -
1976 Montreal Aquatics - SwimmingFreestyle 100m - Men -