Year Inducted: 2004
Pat McConnell combined exceptional natural talent, tenacious competitive instincts and dedication to a goal in a long and distinguished athletic career.
His will to win took him from Cornwall’s tiny Kinsmen pool to the World stage in a swimming career marked by Provincial and National swimming records and Championships and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship honours.
Pat began swimming at age seven with the small but talent-laden Upper Canada Swim Club under the guidance of Cornwall swimming icon Jack Clifton.
He set records in events in all age groups, leading up to the open men’s category, eventually racking up more than 35 Eastern Ontario records, six Ontario age group Provincial records and two National age group marks. Pat made the freestyle sprints his specialty and he was rarely defeated during his teen years.
His success at the National Championships is the stuff legends are made of. He medalled in the 50-metre freestyle short course five times, winning gold, two silver and two bronze.
In 1981, Pat decimated the field in Victoria, B.C., winning the sprint by half a body length. His time ranked him fifth in the World that year in the event.
The top American college teams came courting. Pat accepted a full scholarship from NCAA powerhouse Florida State University.
Pat swam to many successes in his three years at Florida State. In 1985, he was an alternate All-American in the toughest sprint event in the World.
His career record in the sprints placed him among the elite in Canadian swimming history.