In light of the unprecedented growth and success of its High Performance Centre – Ontario, Swimming Canada is reorganizing the talented coaching pool within its High Performance network.
High Performance Centre – Victoria Head Coach Ryan Mallette will be moving east to join the HPC-Ontario next month in the new role of Associate Head Coach, to support Head Coach Ben Titley and the program’s athletes.
“I’m really excited to be joining Ben and the team at HPC-Ontario. It’s one of the premier programs in the world and I hope I can make it even a little better,” Mallette said. “It’s a great opportunity to go work with what has been the most successful program in Canada for the last few years.”
The announcement comes on the heels of another successful season for Titley’s swimmers, as Penny Oleksiak, Taylor Ruck, Rebecca Smith, Kayla Sanchez and Kierra Smith all returned from the FINA World Championships with medals. Double world junior medallist Hanna Henderson is returning alongside talented senior team veterans Yuri Kisil and Mack Darragh, with newcomers Josh Liendo and Finlay Knox joining the program after double world junior medal performances.
“Ben’s group has been expanding, with eight or more swimmers in contention for the Olympic team. The quality of coaching and time required to support these athletes necessitated additional coaching support,” said High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson. “We have so much swimming talent in Ontario that we needed to redeploy our resources to provide our athletes with the coaching support they need leading up to the Olympic Games.”
The pair have been on national teams together since 2014 and often room together at major championships and Games. Titley said he is looking forward to working full-time with his close friend.
“This gives us a world-class staff to provide for these world-class athletes leading through to 2020, and it gives us a good bit of flexibility,” Titley said. “With the FINA World Cups, training camps, and International Swimming League starting up, we have athletes all over the place this fall. We’re looking forward to welcoming Ryan and his family to Toronto and moving swimming on in this part of the world, not just for 2020 but for the major meets beyond.”
Meanwhile, Victoria NextGen Program Lead Coach Brad Dingey will expand his Lead Coach role to encompass the High Performance Centre – Victoria group as well, and will be acting in the capacity of head coach of both programs.
“Ryan and Ben are both tremendous coaches who are going to continue to drive coaching within Canada’s High Performance system,” Atkinson said. “This will allow them both to work together in Ontario. With Brad leading the program in Victoria, and our High Performance Centre – Vancouver at the University of British Columbia, we are extremely well covered as we approach the Olympic Games preparation.”
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 went on to coach Ryan Cochrane to his Canadian record eighth career medal at the 2015 FINA World Championships, and coached Hilary Caldwell to 200-m backstroke bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The group he hands over for Dingey to lead includes double world junior backstroke champion Jade Hannah, two-time world championship medallist Eric Hedlin, Pan Am Games medallists Danielle Hanus, Faith Knelson and Jeremy Bagshaw, and Pan Pacific Championships medallist Mackenzie Padington.
“It has been the best work experience of my life and we love the people here,” Mallette said. “It was an incredibly hard decision but part of what made my decision a little easier is knowing that Brad’s going to do an absolutely fabulous job.”
Story and Photo: Swimming Canada