Beth Whittall

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameElizabeth "Beth"•Whittall
Used nameBeth•Whittall
Born26 May 1936 in Montréal, Québec (CAN)
Died1 May 2015 in Hudson, Québec (CAN)
NOC Canada


Early in her swimming career, Beth Whittall set five Canadian swimming records and won several national titles, but it was not until she captured a silver medal in the 4x110 yard freestyle relay (alongside Gladys Priestley, Helen Stewart, and Virginia Grant) that she started to attract widespread attention. Within a year, however, she had become a national celebrity by winning three medals within an hour at the 1955 Pan American Games: gold in the 100 metre butterfly and the 400 metre freestyle and silver in the 4x100 metre medley (with Stewart, Grant, and Lenora Fisher). At the same tournament, she also took silver in the 4x100 meter freestyle, alongside Priestley, Grant, and Stewart. These achievements earned her the 1955 Lou Marsh Trophy, given annually to Canada’s top athlete, as well as a trip to the 1956 Summer Olympics, where she placed seventh in the 100 metres butterfly and was eliminated in the opening round of the 400 metres freestyle.

Whittall retired from active competition following the Olympics in order to continue pursuing a pharmacology degree at Purdue University, but later worked as a swimming coach in her home province of Quebec. She was heavily involved in both participating and administrating masters-level swimming events in Canada until her death in May 2015, just a few days after learning that she was to be inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame later that year.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1956 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) CAN Beth Whittall
400 metres Freestyle, Women (Olympic) 15
4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay, Women (Olympic) Canada DNS
100 metres Butterfly, Women (Olympic) 7

Special Notes