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Brian Johns (MSWIM | Student-athlete)

NAME: Brian Johns


CATEGORY: Student-Athlete

SPORT: Men’s Swimming

YEARS ACTIVE: 2001-03 & 2005-07


  • Three-time Olympian (2000, 2004, 2008)

  • Three-time CIS Male Swimmer of the Year

  • 2002 BLG Award Winner

  • 33 first-place finishes over 34 career university races


Over 34 races at the university level between 2001 and 2007, UBC's Brian Johns was as close to unbeatable as one can get.

The Regina, Sask. product who grew up in Richmond, B.C. won 33 of the 34 races he competed in at the university level, while helping the Thunderbirds dominate the competition.

Johns was a three-time CIS Male Swimmer of the Year (2002, 2003, 2007), playing his part during UBC's string of 11 consecutive Canada West titles between 1997 and 2007. At the 2003 CIS Championships in Victoria, he set a new world short-course record in 400-metre individual medley with a time of 4:02.72

During the 2001-02 season, Johns was the nation's top male student-athlete, taking home the BLG Award. That season he won seven gold medals at the Canada West Championships, including four in CW record times.

In addition to competing against Canada's top student-athletes, Johns took part in two Summer Universiades (2007 Bangkok and 2009 Belgrade), winning gold in the 200m individual medley in Bangkok.

Johns reached the highest level in swimming three times, representing Canada at three Summer Olympic Games, first as an 18-year-old at the 2000 Games in Sydney, and then later in Athens (2004), and Beijing (2008).

In Athens he finished 15th in the 400m individual medley and helped Canada to a fifth place result in the 4x200m freestyle relay. In 2008 in Beijing he made the Olympic final in the 400m individual medley, touching the wall in seventh place, and was also part of the fifth-place 4x200m freestyle relay team.

Since retiring from competitive swimming, Johns has been active as a coach, spending five years as an assistant coach at UBC, before taking over the role of head coach and director of swimming at the Vancouver Pacific Swim Club in 2016.

Written by Evan Daum

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