Lifesaving World Championships 2024

Perry Smith – a Canadian lifesaving icon

Perry Smith has been a trailblazer in the Canadian Lifesaving community, a lifelong dedication which has tipped over 50 years and left an indelible mark on the sport’s growth and development.

Perry has played an active role in shaping policies and decisions that would shape the future of Lifesaving Sport in Canada. Since 2000 he has been the Chief Referee for Pool, Surf and Simulated Emergency Response (SERC) events in Canada, and since that time he has also officiated at every Lifesaving World Championship

Appointed Chief Referee for the prestigious World Games in 2013 and 2022, Perry was also awarded the Knight in the Order of Lifesaving in 2017. This prestigious honour stands as a testament to his relentless pursuit of safety and excellence in Lifesaving skills.

Ahead of his involvement at LWC24, we caught up with Perry to discuss his time in lifesaving sports.

You’ve been involved in lifesaving for half a century – what keeps you motivated to keep coming back?

I became a lifesaving sport athlete in 1974 over 50 years ago. I kept motivated by increasing my physical fitness and technical rescue skills. I transitioned to a coach/athlete and then to a technical official. Working with other athletes in pursuit of personal bests in events and working with others in the team events. The training was fun and working with other team mates was inspiring. 

You’ve had an impact in your home country as well as internationally for a long time now. In your mind, how is the strength of both the sport and the movement going in Canada, and globally?

The lifesaving sport has grown in the pool, ocean, beach and simulated emergency response events.  So much so we will need to add more days to our competition to increase our capacity.

At the last Lifesaving World Championships we had the largest turnout of National Team ever.  It was a great comeback from the global pandemic.

What are you looking forward to most about LWC 2024?

The first International Lifesaving Championships I attended was on the Gold Coast, Australia in 1988.  I look forward to returning and exploring the region and bring back some great memories.

Which Canadian athletes should we be keeping an eye out for this year?

For the LWC 2024 the Canadian athletes to keep an eye on are:

  • Jacob Miess, our captain, will lead our squad in the surf. Has been a member of the junior team at the last Worlds in Australia.
  • Jonelle Alog, a runner new to the sport but improving everyday. Was part of our team that went to IRC Texas in 2023.
  • Ansley McMurray, swimmer that recently made the Canadian Olympic trial. New to the sport and improving her technical skills every day.

In the juniors we have:

  • Abigail Skinder, swimmer that made her first Canadian Olympic trial this year and a medalist in the last Commonwealth in Windsor, Ontario in 2023
  • Yannick Morgan, swimmer long distance and open water, also made the Olympic trials.

These are the names we believe should surpass the expectations. That being said, we truly believe that Canada will have a more competitive team for this world and probably many athletes will reach their personal best.

Any chance of seeing you in the Masters divisions?

Someday soon. I just changed age groups so I may begin training for Morocco!