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Memorable Manitobans: Vera Tustin Gilbert (1911-1983)

Athlete, coach.

Born at Winnipeg on 10 October 1911, she became one of Manitoba’s most successful swimmers and swim coaches. In 1927, at the age of 16, she debuted on the senior swimming scene with the Women’s Amateur Swimming Club (WASC) and broke the provincial 50 and 220 yard records and the Canadian 50 yard title. Over the next two years she won the Gray Trophy for the one-mile swim of the Red River, broke the 100-yard provincial record and bettered her 50 and 220 yard provincial records. During the 1930-1931 season, illness sidelined her from competitive swimming. In 1935 she came back to break the 220-yard provincial championship before retiring as an athlete.

She then began a career as a coach, including for Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame inductee Vivian King. She also officiated, was the summer swim coach at the community of Grand Beach, and provided aquatherapy to children with polio and other disabilities at the Kinsmen Centre for the Handicapped. In 1936, she married Henry Gilbert and had two daughters, Marilyn and Victoria.

She died at Winnipeg on 19 July 1983 and was buried in the Garry Memorial Park. She was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.


Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Winnipeg’s swimming phenom Vera Tustin, West End Dumplings.

This page was prepared by Christian Cassidy.

Page revised: 11 June 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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