CAEN, France – After an outstanding run as Associate Head Coach and Interim Head Coach of Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centre – Ontario, Ryan Mallette is being elevated to the role of Performance Head Coach.
Swimming Canada made the announcement Friday in Caen, France. The 42-year-old Montreal native is a member of the national team preparing for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, where swimming begins next Friday, July 29.
Mallette served as Associate Head Coach at the centre since 2019 and became Interim Head Coach in March. He has been a member of Canada’s national team staffs since 2014, including the role of head coach at the 2016 FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Windsor, Ont.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to be the Head Coach of the High Performance Centre – Ontario. HPC-Ontario has been one of the best swimming programs in the world for the last several years – if not the best. I’m looking forward to helping carry that forward into Paris 2024.”
Mallette’s athletes won all of Canada’s individual medals at the recent FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Canada’s best ever with 11 medals. That includes gold medals by 15-year-old Summer McIntosh (200 fly and 400 IM) and Kylie Masse (50 back), and breakthrough bronzes for 19-year-old Josh Liendo (100 free, 100 fly). HPC-Ontario swimmers were also key to the relays, with Penny Oleksiak anchoring four relays to medals to bring her all-time total to nine, most ever among Canadians. Last year, 10 HPC-Ontario swimmers represented Canada at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and they had a hand in all six medals.
“We are delighted to have Ryan move into this role. Swimming Canada conducted an international search for coaching talent at our two High Performance Centres, and ultimately found the best candidate at home,” said High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson. “Ryan has proven he is a world-class leader with a track record of success. His drive and dedication has created an environment that allows our athletes to achieve results at the highest level.”
In his role, Mallette will oversee a world-class daily training environment for Canadian athletes in Canada with the ultimate goal of medal winning performances at the Olympic and World Championship level, with full sport science and medical support available.
“We have full faith in Ryan and the integrated support team led by Johnny Fuller to continue the outstanding work they’ve been doing and continue to move the program forward,” Atkinson said. “The High Performance Centre – Ontario will be a key part of our national program strategy toward the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games. We are looking forward to the coming years, but right now the focus is on Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.”
Previously Mallette was Head Coach of the High Performance Centre – Victoria from 2015 to 2019, coaching athletes such as Hilary Caldwell to a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and Ryan Cochrane to his seventh and eighth FINA World Championships medals in 2015. Mallette moved to Victoria as the NextGen coach in 2013 and took over the HPC program under difficult circumstances following the death of Randy Bennett in 2015.
He and his wife Laura live in Toronto with their two children, Eleanor, 4, and Ivy, who was born in December.
“We are so proud of how Ryan has progressed over the years as a homegrown Canadian coach,” said CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “He has worked extremely hard to help athletes meet and exceed their goals, stepped out of his comfort zone to take on new challenges, and been an important part of our success. We look forward to watching Ryan and his staff continue to succeed and grow along with our swimmers at the High Performance Centre – Ontario.”
Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centres provide an environment aimed at developing identified swimmers to their full potential, with a goal of reaching the international podium. High Performance Centre athletes have earned more than three quarters of Swimming Canada’s individual medals at Olympic Games and World Championships since 2007.
“HPC-Ontario has first-class staff, led by Johnny Fuller, who I work really well with. Our integrated support team is among the best in the world and I think we have a team that’s capable of taking any Canadian athlete to the next level,” Mallette said.
In addition to a strong group returning to the centre in the fall, Mallette hopes to grow the program with the addition of new swimmers.
“Canadian swimmers are looking for a program to help them succeed in Paris and beyond. There’s no better spot than the High Performance Centre – Ontario and we’ve had success with athletes as young as 14 years old,” Mallette said.
Photo and story courtesy of Swimming Canada.