Tarek Raafat's Biography:

My swimming career began when I was 3, my dad was working at the El Dorado Hilton in Puerto Rico. My mother had my baby brother in her arm and me by the hand in the hotel baby pool. Of course this was way too boring for me. So I yanked away and ran for the big pool, got on the diving board and jumped off. Fearless! ... of course I did not know how to swim, so I went straight to the bottom. My mother of course is freaking out but thankfully the lifeguard pulled me up from the bottom and brought me back to my mom.

My mom hit my behind for pulling such a naughty stunt. But I could not get enough of the big pool, so 5 minutes later I did it again! I was giving this lifeguard a real workout. He brought me back to my mom again and said "We have to teach your kid how to swim". So I got some water wings after that and that is how it all began ...

I watched the 1976 Olympics on TV and really enjoyed watching the swim events. So after that I begged my parents to join competitive swimming. I started with the Saint John Swim Club near the end of the season in the spring of 1977. The rest is history ...

1st medal - Halifax Trojan Inv - 11-12 boys 200m Breast 3:26 bronze (1977)
1st NB provincial record - 11-12 boys 200IM 2:50 (1978)
1st trophy - NB Open - Top male swimmer (1978)

Through my swimming career I won numerous medals and trophies held quite a few NB provincial records. Qualified for junior nationals at 13 in 200m Back and made Nationals at 15 in 100m Back. Competed at the 1981 Canada Summer Games in Thunder Bay and finished 7th in the 200m Back 2:13.51. That performance got me named to the Canadian National Youth Team.

Competed for the University of Toronto starting in 1984 and qualified for CIs in 50m Free with my first swim of the season to the shock of my teammates. Won numerous OUA medals including gold in the 50m and 100m Free (1986) which btw was the year Carleton first had a varsity swim team. Was beat out for OUA swimmer of the meet by Carleton breastroker Chris Pilon. Voted team captain for 1987-88. Twice named All-Canadian in 1985 and 1989 for winning silver in the 50m Free at CIs. Member of the men's OUA championship teams 1985-1989 and the 1986 CI Championship team. Set one varsity record in the 200m Free 1:49.96 which stood for over a decade.

A highlight of my swimming career was in 1985 when the Canada Games were hosted in my hometown Saint John, NB. The first week the home province failed to win any medals, so the pressure was on. The medal jinx was broken when I anchored the 4x50m Free Relay to a bronze medal splitting 23.3 . NB went on the win a numerous medals the 2nd week. The following night I followed that up with a gold and Canada Games record in the 100m Free 52.84 and wrapped up the meet with a silver in the 50m Free. Was named the province's MVP.

Competed in three Olympic trials 1984, 1988 and 1992. Best finish was 4th in 50m Free in 1992 which was quite an infamous scandal with the heats and the final having to be reswum ... Medalled at Nationals several times bronze 4x50m Free with NYUT (1985), gold in 100m Free (1986) and bronze in 50m Free (winter SC 22.97 and summer LC 23.57 1989). Won some gold in Canada Cup competition as well ...

I raced a few famous swimmers over the years such as Alex Baumann in the 400m IM and Victor Davis in the 100m Breast. Was on the National Team with Mark Tewksbury, and so on.

Competed in International competitions in Rome and Monaco. Was selected for the National B team in 1986. Competed in the 1987 World University Games in Zagreb, Yugoslavia finishing 12th in 50m Free. Competed in the 1989 Pan-Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo, Japan where I finished 4th in the 4x50m Medley Relay (split 22.9) and 7th in the 50m Free 23.57 in the final where the world record was set.

Moved to Ottawa in 1990 after graduating from university with a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Actuarial Science. Started working at StatsCan in 1991 in Census Operations as a programmer analyst. Currently work at NRC's Institute for Research in Construction as a information systems project manager.

Competed with GO Kingfish and then with Carleton (under Ottawa Y Olympians and "unattached") starting in 1991. Participated in Carleton's 1st ever xmas training camp in 1992-93. Began coaching at Carleton in 1994 when the head coach left two months into the season leaving a decimated roster of only six women and six men, half of whom were water polo players. Became head coach in 1995 and guided the team through the dark days when the team was slated to be cut in 1996 and then again in 1999 successfully defending the varsity status of the team. Moved to the assistant role as of the 1999-2000 season or "special events coordinator". Generally I help coach at meets, take photos, fill in for the other coaches when necessary and coordinate requested special events such as xmas training camp.

Other interests include tennis, snowboarding, travel, eating, pubbing, (ok dancing too but not singing) and renovating the new place in Sandy Hill.

The most embarrassing moment was racing in the new swim suit that umm didn't fit right ... you'll have to ask about that ... and hmmm come to think of it I guess there have been a few other embarrassing moments: the women's change room in Sherbrooke, the TV interview in Thunder Bay, the glove in the corner store ... *blushes* gee the list does go on ... I better stop.