It is with sadness that Calgary Masters Swim Club announces the passing of one its founding members, Keith Shaw, on November 13, 2020. Keith, age 77, started swimming with Calgary Masters Swim Club back in February 1977 and he continued to swim with the club until just a few days before his death.
Throughout his lifetime, Keith was an accomplished swimmer, coach, teacher and thespian. He was well known for his enthusiasm, positive attitude, and commitment to whatever he took on and of course no one can forget his puns or “Shaw’s Laws”. Keith’s accomplishments are numerous both in and out of the pool and span decades.
Keith was born in Regina and began swimming for his high school team in grade 10. He had medal success at the provincial level in breaststroke and medley relays. He then attended the University of Colorado on a partial academic and swim scholarship, where he lettered all 4 years, was team co-captain, assistant coach, and earned two silvers at the Big Eight Conference Championships. He was honoured in 2014 with a 50-year Alumni “Living Legend” plaque.
After graduating with a teaching degree, he became sessional instructor at the University of Saskatchewan, where as Assistant Swim Coach, he helped the team win the WCIAA Championships. Keith helped open up the new pool at U. of Regina, and taught and coached there for five years. Moving to Calgary, he then taught and coached for 30 years with the Calgary Board of Education.
Keith’s list of accomplishments in swimming are lengthy. In 1980, when CMSC hosted the Canadian Masters Swim Championships, Keith excelled, capturing seven medals. He began to attend international events such as the 1983 US National Masters Championships, where he successfully earned a bronze in the 50m L.C. breaststroke. In 1985 at the World Master Games in Etobicoke, Keith won silver in the 50 and 100m L.C. breaststroke plus another 5 top ten awards. Then he travelled to Denmark for 1989 World Master Games, where he won 3 silvers in breaststroke. Keith continued to attend US National Swim Meets and World Masters Games where he would consistently medal or place in the top 10 in all stroke disciplines. He was a two-time gold medalist at the World Masters Games in 1998. Other World Masters Games medals include six silver.
In 2011 the 240-year men’s 4 x 100 free relay team of Dave Dickson, Peter O’Brien, Mike Morrow with Keith as anchor set a World and Canadian Master’s record of 4:36.48 at the Canadian L.C. Championships in Nanaimo. Keith’s best results at Canadian Nationals were in 2012 at Kelowna, where he won 4 golds, 3 silvers and a bronze.
Keith also attended his first US National Senior Games in Houston in 2011 and earned a bronze in the 50yd breast. He has been director of the Calgary 55 Plus Games Assn for 10 years during which he served as vice president for four years. His service earned him a Certificate of Merit from the Association.
Despite suffering injuries and set backs, such as a torn bicep and a heart event in 2016, Keith continued to compete at a high level. His last international event was in 2017 at the New Zealand World Masters Games where he earned gold in the 200m breaststroke. For all of his accomplishments he received the CTV Athlete of the Week award.
Outside the pool, Keith was also very active in his church, St. Peter’s Anglican. For 31 years, he was co-coordinator of the monthly adult social club, cast member for 20 of their drama productions, captain of an ushering team, lector and greeter.
Keith will always be remembered for his puns and willingness to help others. He was fiercely dedicated to his swimming and extremely proud of all his accomplishments. He was graciously helpful to many whether it was helping a fellow swimmer prepare for an event, showing another around Cardiac Wellness or helping a new teacher get on their feet. His motto was “Have Good Times and Good Times.” Keith, you finished your race well!
Written by Dave Amundrud and Sue Hill