I began coaching swimming because of the fun and friendships I had while I swam. Over the past 30 seasons, I have coached with some of the best coaches Canada and other countries have had including; Deryk Snelling, Jim Fowlie, Tom Johnson, Dave Johnson, Clive Rushton, Kevin Thorburn, Pierre Lafontaine, John Hogg, Steve Price, Mike Blondal and Howard Firby. I have been fortunate to learn various coaching attributes from all of these great coaches above as well as develop some great age group swimmers over the past twenty plus years with the Canadian Dolphin Swim Club.
This club attracted me because of former greats such as Leslie Cliff, Elaine Tanner, Steve Pickell, Gail Amundrud and Cheryl Gibson to name a few. It has a vast and great history and one that has survived the ages. In the history of the CDSC, there have only been 4 or 5 head coaches of which Tom Johnson and Deryk Snelling still remain active within Canada and Bill Rose is still heading up a team in the U.S. Unfortunately, one of the greatest coaches, Howard Firby passed away a while ago.
While coaching the Canadian Dolphin Swim Club as an age group coach, I had the fortune of working with various other coaches who helped our club immensely such as Mark Bottrill, Brad Dingey, Annie Wolfe, Cory Beatt and Brad Hutton and Janice Hanan. All of these coaches helped move our club back to the forefront in the late 1990’s.
I have also been fortunate to have been able to coach various Canadian and provincial record holders while they were in their teens such as; Maya Beaudry, Michelle Mange, Brent O’Connor, Darryl Rudolf, Taryn Lencoe, Shannon Hackett, Haylee Johnson, Zach Somjen, Desmond Strelzow and Tamee Ebert to name a few. Some of these athletes participated in the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, World Championships, Australian Youth Olympics and various National and International meets.
At one time, five of my previous swimmers made up almost half of one of the Junior National squads that participated in various meets and went to various training camps. As the Head Age Group coach of CDSC, our club was a frontrunner in the mid 1990’s to early 2000’s in helping the UBC Dolphins win many provincial and National titles as well as dominate the country in Westerns and Youth Nationals. Our club had more record holders at the age group level than any other participating age group club within the UBC Dolphin Swim Association. Being part of the UBC Dolphins also allowed me to grow as a coach and to understand what it takes for a swimmer to succeed in the long run. Talent in itself is not a winning element but the swimmer also has to have a strong desire to succeed, work and have a great attitude towards training. I believe that if an athlete has desire to become one of the best, he or she must have attributes such as overall physical development, a great attendance percentage, a positive attitude and belief in the system as well as talent and desire to succeed. An athlete who does not make excuses rather learns from his or her mistakes are far more likely to succeed in the long run. Taking ownership of their own training, habits and abilities will only further develop the great athletes.
My philosophy is that technical aspects of swimming along with a willingness to change or learn and consistency within practices will eventually help an athlete to succeed. We have all seen great athletes who think they are good but do not really want to work that hard, never reach their final goals of becoming the best. I believe that swimming helps people become better by giving them direction and helping them to manage their time. It gives an athlete a chance to travel, to meet new friends and to gain confidences by persevering until they succeed. Teaching the swimmers the basics and rehearsing great technique, attitudes and efforts are ways in which the CDSC athletes will succeed.