H. Penney Gaul

1977-1978 Swim Team

Penney Gaul is one of only a handful of Acadia varsity athletes to have won four conference championships during her career. As a member of Acadia’s outstanding women’s swim teams of the late 1970s, she added a pair of national titles as well.

Hailing from Beaurepaire, a suburb of Montreal, Gaul arrived unrecruited at Acadia. “I just showed up at the first swim practice thinking it would be a fun thing to do,” she says. She met and befriended fellow first-year students Roberta Thomson, one of tonight’s inductees, and previous Hall of Fame inductee Holly LeReverend. In her first year, 1976-1977, Gaul teamed up with Marjorie MacDonald, LeReverend and Thomson to set a new CIAU record in the medley relay at the AUAA championships.

Qualifying for nationals as a first-year swimmer, she joined Stevens, LeReverend and Jill Taylor to win the 400 medley relay in a new CIAU record time of 4:06.76. Gaul again qualified for nationals in ’77-’78, and helped the conference-champion Axettes repeat as national champions. At nationals, she was third in 50 freestyle, and teamed up with Stevens, Thomson and Mary Ellen McDonald for another new CIAU medley relay record. At the conclusion of the meet, Gaul was named a CIAU All-Canadian.

During the ’78-’79 season, Acadia won a fifth straight conference championship. Gaul was AUAA champion in the 50 and 100 freestyle and placed second in 200 freestyle. Qualifying for nationals for a third straight year, she placed third in 50 freestyle and fourth in 100 freestyle, though Acadia was denied a third straight CIAU title. Following the 1979 season, Gaul was awarded the Dr. Frank H. Eaton Award for academic achievement, leadership and participation in intercollegiate sport.

She excelled also in her final season, ’79-’80, when the Axettes ran their string of conference championships to six and finished a strong third at nationals. She was one of 13 Acadia swimmers to qualify for nationals in ’79-’80 – in her case, for a fourth straight year – and performed well, winning a silver medal. She capped her university athletic career by being selected Acadia’s Female Athlete of the Year. It was the fifth consecutive year the school’s top female athlete had been a varsity swimmer.

After graduating with a BSc in biology, Gaul obtained her MD in 1985. She has been a radiologist in Calgary for the past 17 years.

She is proud of the fact that the ’76-’77 and ’77-’78 Acadia women’s swim teams have both been inducted into the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame. The ’76-’77 team was inducted into the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame in 1982. The highlights of her career, she notes, other than the championships, were “being coached by Jack Scholz, all the lifelong friendships I made, and the great education I received.”

The Acadia Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to induct, in the athlete category, Dr. Penney Gaul, an important member of four AUAA champions and two consecutive CIAU champions.