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  Prairie Gold:
Sports Heroes From Saskatchewan
 
 
Photo 1 of 6. | | |

Karen Dumas

Karen was a highly skilled athlete in the sport of synchronized swimming. She competed for six seasons, then began coaching when the Saskatoon Aqualenes Swimming Club was newly formed. Many of her swimmers placed high in provincial and western Canadian competitions.

When she retired from coaching, Karen joined her husband Denny in a new sport - canoeing. Her first taste of competition took place during the popular Louis Riel relays. Her next venture took her to the sport of Marathon canoeing. Karen encouraged a former synchro-swimmer Cathy Nixon to join her. In August 1981, Karen and Cathy combined to win the pairs event in the first Canadian Women's Championship marathon canoeing held in Saskatoon. The following year in Grandmere, Quebec, this duo again repeated as national champions. Karen's superior strength and endurance was an inspiration to many.

She was inducted into the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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Photo 2 of 6. | | |

Sadie Caulder Knight

Sadie Caulder Knight was the pioneer of synchronized swimming in Saskatchewan. Born in Liverpool, England in 1899, she came to Saskatchewan in 1913. In 1941 she began teaching the fundamentals of synchronized swimming, and developed the province's first, progressive synchronized swimming program at the old Regina YWCA.

In 1956 Saskatchewan participated at the Canadian Championships for the first time, and was represented by three of Sadie's swimmers. In the 1957 Championships the team placed third - only 1.2 points out of a first place.

She was responsible for the formation of the first provincial association and when the first provincial championships were held in 1958, "Cauldie's Girls" won easily. The Synchronettes competed every year, until Sadie's retirement in 1965, always placing swimmers in the top ten in Canada, and occasionally bringing home silver and bronze medals.

Upon her death in 1971, at age 72, a group of former swimmers established a trust fund in her name. Synchro Swim Saskatchewan now presents a "Coach of the Year" Award and Bursary in Sadie Caulder Knight's memory.

In 1972, Synchro Swim Canada presented her, posthumously, with their distinguished service award for her contributions to synchronized swimming in Canada.

Installed in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, March 21,1981.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 3 of 6. | | |

Diane Lemon

Diane Lemon has done it all when it comes to synchronized swimming. She has been, at various times in her career, a swimmer, coach, judge, administrator, and parent of a synchronized swimmer.

Originally from Sintaluta, Diane's involvement with synchronized swimming was centered in Regina. In 1966 she began to officiate at local meets, and in 1968 attained a National Level FV rating for officiating. This rating enabled Diane to officiate at Saskatchewan Provincial Championships and Winter Games, Western Canadian Championships and Games, and Canadian Championships and Games.

In 1989 Diane began her international officiating career, when she was invited to the Swiss Open Synchronized Swimming Competition. From 1989 until the present, Diane has officiated at international competitions in Europe and the United States. She became the first Canadian judge to write and pass the Level V Rating, and that same year attained FINA rating for international judging.

Diane was a member of the organizing committee which formed the provincial section of Synchro Saskatchewan in 1965, and served on the Board of Directors of Synchro Saskatchewan for twenty-seven years. From 1967 to the present, Diane has acted as provincial technical and judges chairperson, as a member of organizing committees for meets and fund raisers, and has held various positions on the board of directors, including a term as president.

Diane served on the organizing committees for one Canadian Junior and one Canadian Senior Championship, and helped to organize national judges and coaches clinics. From 1988-1990 she was a member of the Board of Directors of Synchro Canada, and is past Chair of the National Officials Technical Committee, as well as a member of the International Judges Group of Synchro Canada.

In appreciation of her many years of service, Diane received the 1978 Synchro Sask "Volunteer of the Year" award, and in 1989 was honoured by the YWCA as "Woman of the Year - Sport Category". In 1993 Diane received the Canada 125 Award for community volunteer work in amateur sport, and in 1995 was awarded a Lifetime Membership to Synchro Saskatchewan.

Installed in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and Museum on June 15, 1996.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 4 of 6. | | |

Cathy Nixon

Cathy was prominent as an athlete in two sports, synchronized swimming and marathon canoeing. She began the difficult and demanding sport of synchronized swimming at the age of twelve. Cathy was very successful representing the Aqualenes club at provincial, national and international competitions. Cathy was invited to join her former coach Karen Dumas in a new venture, marathon canoeing.

In August of 1981, they teamed up to win the first women's national championship when the competition was held in Saskatoon. The following year, in Grandmere, Quebec, Cathy and Karen repeated as Canadian champions. Following the tragic death of Karen Dumas, Cathy continued to compete. In September 1985, she was a member of the first Canadian women's team that placed 5th out of 25 entries in the annual Molokai to Waikiki Outrigger Canoe Race in Hawaii. In 1985, she was a member of the winning Louis Riel Relay team at Expo in Vancouver.

Cathy along with Karen Dumas was inducted into the Satan Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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Photo 5 of 6. | | |

Sandra Roberts

Sandra Robert's contribution to Saskatchewan's synchronized swimming programs is immeasurable. Since the 1950s, she has played a vital role in the province, the country and throughout the world as an athlete, coach, official, and administrator.

After nearly a decade as a participant and competitor, Roberts turned her focus to what would become a 21 year coaching career. Under her guidance, many teams and athletes became provincial champions. She was first appointed a coach of the Regina YWCA Synchronettes (1958-59) and moved the next year to Saskatoon where she coached synchro both at the Saskatoon YWCA (1959-62,1964-65) and the University of Saskatchewan (1961-62). Roberts retired from coaching until 1970 when she began 15 years of coaching in Swift Current. She both established and coached that city's summer outdoor club (1970-78, 1980-84) and winter indoor club (1982-87).

Roberts began officiating locally in 1968 and by the next year had attained a National Level IV rating. She has officiated at the Canadian Synchro Championships ever since. She has been an international official since 1978 and received her initial FINA (Synchro's world governing body) accreditation in 1983. In 1988, she received the FINA "A" rating. Roberts is now an official's official as she has evaluated judging in locations like Mexico, Spain and France. The 1978 Swiss Open in Zurich, the 1979 Pan American Games in Puerto Rico, the 1983 American Cup in Los Angeles, and the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh (1986) and an astounding 4 FINA World Cups are among the international meets at which Roberts has officiated. More recently, Roberts has judged at a Pre-Olympic meet at Seoul (1988), the Junior Worlds in Columbia (1989), the World Championships in Perth (1991), the Pan American Games in Cuba (1991), and the French Olympic Trial in Paris (1992). She looks forward to officiating at the Olympic Games this summer in Barcelona.

Administratively, Roberts has made a significant contribution to synchro. She has held a variety of posts in Synchro Sask, including president, treasurer, secretary, technical chair, and Sask First Management Committee Chair. Nationally, she has served on Synchro Canada's Board of Directors and been Vice President, Technical. Roberts revised the "Star Program" and in doing so wrote a basic coaching manual that sold in 30 countries around the world and been published in English, French and Spanish. She has also acted on numerous national synchro committees including those that concentrate on coaching development, national team management, competition, and judges development. Internationally, Roberts works on the ASUA (Pan American Games) Synchro Technical Committee and represented Synchro Canada at the FINA League of European Nations Aquatic Conferences in 1987 and 1988. At the request of the FINA Technical Committee, she is working together with representatives from Japan and the United States to produce an international judging manual.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 6 of 6. | | |

We hope that you have enjoyed reading about some of Saskatchewan's sports heroes.

If you have a photograph of someone or a team listed in Prairie Gold that we do not have a photo for and are willing to donate it, please contact us.

Due to their nature and sometimes ambiguous origin the photographs seen here and those on file at the Local History Room are continuously being updated with new information. Some of this information comes from dedicated research done by Local History staff. However some of the biggest 'breaks' have come from the public... Those that remember the people, places and events in the photo are our biggest informational resource and we ask that if you have any information about the photos to contact the Local History Room at lhstaff@saskatoonlibrary.ca or phone (306) 975-7578.

Come and visit the Local History Room the next time you are at the Frances Morrison Library.

Thank you.

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