Denny Walker with a trophy

In the 1920s and 30's, the Crystal Garden was the place to be seen if you were a recreational swimmer in Victoria. But the Victoria YMCA enjoyed its own distinction, by producing numerous high-level competitive swimmers, most of them under the tutelage of the legendary Archie McKinnon. One of those young athletes was Denny Walker, a talented soccer player from the Cloverdale area, who was encouraged to put his powerfully-built body to work in the YMCA pool. Before long, Walker was dominating local swim meets and also quickly made a name for himself on both the provincial and national stages. Swimming the 400-metre backstroke, he qualified for the Canadian team going to the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. In doing so, Denny Walker became the first Victoria swimmer to compete at an Olympic Games. Although he was eliminated in the heats, he wasn't done with swimming. Walker won the 1933 "Through Victoria" race, a three-mile endurance swim down the Gorge Waterway from the Tillicum Bridge to the Inner Harbour lower causeway. After joining the Navy and competing for them, he later helped out by coaching members of YMCA swim teams.


Victoria enjoys a stellar sports history and we celebrate the many athletes, teams and builders who have contributed to that history.  Our displays are seen at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre (1925 Blanshard St.)  through Gate Three.


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