Theo Arie van Rijn
Born: March 20, 1946
Died: August 26, 2014 (Sechelt, British Columbia)
Theo van Rijn was a top freestyle sprint swimmer in the 1960s, competing for Canada at the World University Games in Tokyo in 1967.
He was eliminated in the games competition after finishing sixth in his 100-metre heat in a time of 59.5 seconds.
In 1970, he was named a co-winner of the George M. Biggs Trophy, presented annually to a graduating male student athlete who has contributed the most to University of Toronto athletics in terms of leadership, sportsmanship and performance. Van Rijn shared the award with Paul Laurent, a centre with the Varsity Blues hockey team that won five consecutive league titles and four national championships.
Van Rijn graduated from the University of Toronto in medicine in 1971. He later became a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation in Vancouver. Among his patients was former B.C. premier Mike Harcourt, who suffered serious injuries in a fall.
He died at 68 after a long struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He leaves his wife, Carol; a daughter; and, a sister. He was predeceased by a son, Kiran van Rijn, a former member of Canada’s national rowing team, who died in 2005, aged 29, of cardiac arrhythmia while training on Burnaby Lake, near Vancouver.