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Episode #12: Tim McIsaac

October 13, 2020

48:58 minutes


When he was little and attending preschool and kindergarten Tim figured he was just like the other kids that he played with on his street; he’d even pick up books and pretend to read them figuring he couldn’t read them because he didn’t yet know how to read. He didn’t know he couldn’t read them because he was blind. His mom had to explain to him that he was not able to see.

While attending school at Ontario School for the Blind he was introduced to swimming and he took to it right away – he was better at it than kids in his class and in his school. Turns out he is one of the best swimming athletes in the world. Over his swimming career he dominated para swimming from 1976 through 1986 collecting 14 gold, four silver and five bronze medals at the Paralympics and five gold, four silver and one bronze at the World Games. In 2020 he was recognized as one of Manitoba’s greatest athletes of all-time. His formal swim training really began with the St James Seals in Winnipeg. He and his coach developed the technique were blind swimmers are tapped on the head as they approach the wall so they can complete their flip turn. Tim was the first person in the world to do it and he and his coaches introduced the technique to the world. The willingness of Tim to learn the flip turn and the openness of his coaches to innovate impacted not only Tim’s career, but the evolution of para swimming worldwide.

Tim advises us to take advantage of every opportunity to listen and learn from other people. We hope you enjoy learning from Tim in this episode of Heroes in Our Midst.

“Take advantage of every opportunity you have to listen to and learn from other people.”