General News

Select Coaches Group members named

Swimming Canada has announced its largest ever Select Coaches Group, as 12 Canadian coaches will participate in the annual development opportunity for 2017-18.

For the 2017-2018 season, the Select Coaches Group will get together to attend the American Swimming Coaches Association World Clinic Aug. 29 to Sept. 3 in Washington. Following the clinic, the group will remain on site for a one-day Swimming Canada Workshop with Swimming Canada senior technical staff: John Atkinson, Martyn Wilby, Ken McKinnon, Mark Perry and Iain McDonald.

The candidates were chosen based off of their outstanding applications, their ability to coach swimmers to “On Track Times” and/or having coached on a national team at the youth, junior or senior level.

“We are excited by the quality of coaches we have in the program this year,” said McDonald, Senior Manager, NextGen High Performance Pathway. “The group is significantly expanded. We have been able to include a number of coaches who have been a part of the program over past three years as well provide an opportunity to four new coaches to join the group.”

The Select Coaches program, now in its fourth year, plays a significant role in Swimming Canada’s mission to be amongst the world’s leading swimming nations by 2020.

“High Performance coach development is a key focus for Swimming Canada,” McDonald said. “Since 2014, we have worked with forty coaches to provide various professional development opportunities such as mentorship, program visitations, national team exposure, conferences and workshops. The Select Coach program is a key component of this coach development strategy.”

“It was an amazing experience,” said Don Burton of the Ontario Swimming Academy. “I visited an Olympic coach who has spoken at countless conferences, a person who created their own pathway. Seeing how true the talks were to real life coaching inside the daily training environment, was what I needed to see for my own eyes. The support from Swimming Canada made the goal a reality.”

“The Select Coaches program has been an awesome opportunity to learn from some of the best coaches and clubs in the world,” added Jason Allen of the Greater Ottawa Kingfish Swim Club. “Each Select Coach shares their knowledge with our fellow members of the program – allowing us to all think outside our comfort zone.  This opportunity has been a fantastic learning tool.”

The development and continuity of coaching programs ensures consistency in high performance coaching strategies, a necessary plan as Swimming Canada hopes to become a Top 6 total medal producing nation at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.

“We are looking forward to having this group together this year to learn from some great international coaches at the conference and for them to have time together to discuss what is being presented amongst themselves and with Swimming Canada Senior Technical Staff.” says McDonald. “The group will stay on for a day after the conference for a workshop where we will have few guest speakers as well as Swimming Canada focused presentations so that all select coaches are fully exposed to the Swimming Canada High Performance plans and strategies for the Tokyo 2020 quad.”

The following coaches have been named to the 2017-18 Select Coaches Group:

Jason Allen – Greater Ottawa Kingfish
Marta Belsh – Fredricton Aquanaut Swim Team
Don Burton – Ontario Swimming Academy
Tina Hoeben – KISU Swim Club
Ben Keast – High Performance Centre – Vancouver
Greg Kozell – Triton Swimming
Andrew Miller – Ajax Aquatic Club
Rob Novak – Markham Aquatic Club
Patrick Paradis – Chena Swim Club
Nicholas Perron – Université Laval
Rob Pettifer – Richmond Rapids
Abderrahmane Tissira – Regina Optimist Dolphins

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Select Coaches Group again this season,” Hoeben said. “Being a part of this group last year played a role in our success this season. The educational component is great, but I also appreciated the dialogue with other coaches from across Canada. I’m really looking forward to this season’s session.”

“Working outside the familiar is one of the best ways to develop,” added Pettifer, another returning member. “As coaches, we should act more like our athletes: regularly tested and exposed to different stimuli in the pursuit of long-term improvement. The opportunity to present my experience with the Select Coaches Group and defend my conclusions in front of peers, including Swimming Canada senior staff, was great for personal growth.”

Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson said the impact of the Select Coaches Group on Canadian coaches across Canada will be significant this year.

“Nine club programs, two university programs, along the Ontario Swimming Academy and High Performance Centre – Vancouver will see their coaches benefit from their involvement,” Atkinson said. “Swimming Canada have worked extensively offering more opportunities for coaches than ever before over the last four years

“Along with the Select Coaches Group, we have conducted coaching apprenticeships on teams, home program visits, bespoke opportunities and various coach mentoring. These different opportunities have seen in excess of 30 different individual coaches exposed to development through Swimming Canada, something we are committed to continuing through this quad to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”

Story and Photo from Swimming Canada |