Swimming Canada has selected Rob Pettifer as Head Coach – Pool for the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

The head coach of the Richmond (B.C.) Rapids Swim Club, was chosen from a group of candidates through a nationwide application process.

“I’m pretty excited,” said the 41-year-old Richmond native. “I’m hoping to bring lots of energy and maybe a few new ideas.”

Pettifer has coached Parapan Am Games medallist and Paralympian Jonathan Dieleman and 2016 FINA World Championships (25m) team member Nicolaas Dekker. He says he’s known for being well-prepared and detail-oriented.

“I like to take the time to think things through and do my research. That’s from relay selection, to environment, travel, to the athletes, the personal touch of who they are, where they’re going and how to get them there,” he said.

It will be the first international head coaching appointment for Pettifer, who has participated in several coach development activities with Swimming Canada.

“We’re excited to work closely with Rob in this role over the next nine months as we prepare to take the team to Lima,” said Iain McDonald, Swimming Canada’s Senior Manager, NextGen High Performance Pathway, who is Team Leader for the Games.

Pettifer has received direct mentorship from National Development Coach Ken McKinnon, and was an apprentice coach with the National Development Team on the 2015 Mare Nostrum Tour. He also served as a member of Canada’s coaching staff for the 2016 FINA World Cup tour and has been a member of the Select Coaches Group twice, taking advantage of several mentorship and workshop opportunities.

“He’s proven himself to be a thoughtful and well-prepared leader,” McDonald said. “He’s taken the initiative to get engaged in many coach development opportunities and in those opportunities he’s taken full advantage to improve himself as a high-performance coach.”

Swimming at the Games is set for Aug. 6-10 in Lima. Canada will select its team at the Canadian Swimming Trials April 3-7 in Toronto, choosing up to 20 swimmers not selected to the FINA World Championships or World Junior Championships. The team will be made up of athletes focused on achieving podium results and who will have the potential to impact the Olympic team in 2020 and 2024.

“This is a great opportunity for athletes who are maybe just off the world standard,” Pettifer said. “I want to encourage those athletes to pursue their Olympic dreams and continue to develop as members of the national team.”

WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg-based Ready, Set, Swim! Foundation teaches at-risk youth and newcomers to Canada how to swim and internationally-decorated swimmer Yuri Kisil is a proud supporter.

Kisil, a 23-year-old triple world championship medallist, believes the foundation’s work will save lives. “I have had a privileged upbringing,” said Kisil, a 2016 Olympian and Swimming Canada’s reigning co-male swimmer of the year. “I learned to swim as a very young child because my parents knew that swimming is a skill that could potentially save my life one day.

“Knowing how to swim should not be a privilege. A lot of children die needlessly every year in drowning incidents while participating in what should be fun and healthy outdoor activities. Many of these tragedies could be avoided if these children knew how to swim and were taught some basic water safety principles.”

Kisil’s uncle and aunt – Edward and Debbie Carriere – agree and they are at the heart of a major fundraiser for the foundation at the Edward Carriere Salon on Spence Street in downtown Winnipeg. Fundraising for the foundation has been active at the salon for six weeks, but it will culminate on Sunday, when all proceeds from cuts, blow-dries, manicures, pedicures, lip waxes and brow waxes will be donated to the foundation. Fourteen stylists will be donating their time and working for free at the salon that day. There will also be a raffle on a lavish gift basket and tax deductible donations will be accepted. The Wasabi sushi restaurant will be donating food.

The Carriers host charity fundraisers every year, but this Ready, Set, Swim! Foundation touched their heart.

“We are just responding to a need in our community,” said Adam Nixon, manager of the salon, which will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday.

The salon hopes to raise about $12,000 for the foundation.

“The whole staff is excited and we know our customers are going to be happy to help the foundation, too,” Nixon said.

Ready, Set, Swim! Chairwoman Rishona Hyman said the foundation will begin operating eight-week classes in January. Participants will swim in 30-minute classes once a week. The parents of the participants will also be enrolled in water safety courses.

“We are eliminating barriers,” Hyman said. “There are underprivileged kids and newcomers to our country who need to learn how to swim and now they will have that opportunity.

“So far, the reaction is the community has been very positive. I can see a program like this being offered all across Canada. We have identified the need and we have eliminated the barriers.”

Kisil, who was born in Calgary and lives in Toronto, didn’t hesitate to get involved with Ready, Set Swim!

“I have always been interested in supporting positive initiatives directed at disadvantaged youth,” he said. “A few years ago, through a program sponsored by Swimming Canada, I was able to provide some financial support to a breakfast program that fed children who were coming to school hungry in the morning.

“As we all know, you can’t achieve your potential in either sports or academics if you’re hungry. That experience really left an impression on me. That’s why I am happy to do whatever I can to support fantastic community work being done through local programs like Ready, Set Swim!”

For more information see: www.readysetswim.ca or https://www.facebook.com/events/2177241949264387/

Swimming Canada is pleased to announce Alan Raphael as its new Director, Marketing & Business Development.

Raphael brings 20 years of experience creating and executing strategic marketing campaigns, generating revenue, leading teams, building partnerships and engaging customers at TSN, including seven years as Director, Brand Partnerships.

In his role, Raphael will oversee a comprehensive multi-year marketing and revenue generation strategy, including managing Swimming Canada’s corporate partnerships. He succeeds Chris Wilson, who left in September to assume a new role as Senior Director for CBC Sports.

“Alan is a veteran of the sports and broadcasting industry and the sports marketing industry. He will be a great asset as we look to build upon the great base created by Chris Wilson,” said Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “Swimming Canada’s brand continues to grow and we look forward to Alan’s leadership to take us to the next level.”

Raphael is a graduate of York University’s Schulich School of Business and George Brown College’s Sport & Event Marketing program.

“I’m very excited to join Swimming Canada bringing my passion for sports marketing and corporate partnerships,” Raphael said. “I look forward to working closely with existing and new partners, creating exciting and engaging programs to further grow the sport for participants and fans across Canada.”

Raphael will assume his new role Tuesday.

Markus Thormeyer broke two national records and Kayla Sanchez became the fastest under-18 female ever in the 50-m freestyle on a fast weekend of short-course swimming for Canadians.

Thormeyer, of Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centre – Vancouver, started the Odlum Brown Limited College Cup off strong, leading off the University of British Columbia men’s 4x50m medley relay. Thormeyer teamed with Jaren LeFranc, Josiah Binnema, and Alex Loginov for a time of 1:37.24, beating the previous record of 1:37.80 Team Canada set at the Windsor 2016 FINA World Championships (25m).

Thormeyer continued the momentum by setting another Canadian short-course record in the  200-m backstroke. The 21-year-old touched first in a time of 1:52.12, just sneaking under the previous record of 1:52.15 held by Jake Tapp set at the 2010 short-course worlds. Thormeyer also won and set a pool record the 100-m backstroke in a time of 52.15.

Meanwhile, at the NYAC Cup in Toronto, Kayla Sanchez of the High Performance Centre  Ontario won the 50-m freestyle in a time of 23.94. The 17-year-old’s time makes her the fastest junior female ever in the 50-m freestyle, swimming under the existing world junior record time of 24.00 held by Menghui Zhu of China. Canadian females hold the fastest short-course times in all three sprint freestyle events (Penny Oleksiak, 52.01 in the 100; Taylor Ruck, 1:52.50 in the 200).

Other notable performances from the Odlum Brown Cup include Binnema’s pool records to win all three butterfly events. He went 24.7 in the 50, 53.18 in the 100, and 1:57.57 in the 200.

Kelsey Wog, swimming for the University of Manitoba Bisons, also had a successful meet winning gold medals and setting pool records in the 50-m breaststroke in 31.03, 200-m breaststroke in 2:21.41, 200-m freestyle in 1:58.10 and the 200-m individual medley in 2:10.61. Wog also took home gold in the 100-m breaststroke.

In NCAA swimming this weekend, Maggie MacNeil, of London, Ont., won a gold medal and set an Iowa pool record in the women’s 100-yard butterfly at the University of Michigan, Iowa and Denver swim meet. Mabel Zavaros, of Oakville, Ont., won the 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard backstroke and the 100-yard butterfly at the University of Florida vs. Florida State dual meet. Sydney Pickrem also took home the gold medal in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard individual medley at the Texas A&M vs. University of Texas swim meet.

Fifty years ago, silver sent swimmers on different paths

Swimming Canada, every single provincial swimming organization, and the Canadian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (CSCTA) are partnering to sign on to the Responsible Coaching Movement.

“There is no place for abuse, harassment or discrimination in our sport,” said Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “With our key partners, we are committing to strengthen the processes we already have in place to ensure our athletes, coaches, officials, staff and volunteers are able to participate in safe, inclusive and respectful training and competitive environments. We are committed to these values through our Safe Sport initiatives, and I’m proud that our partners are stepping up to demonstrate their commitment as well.”

The Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) is a multi-phase system-wide movement, coordinated by the Coaching Association of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport. A result of extensive ongoing consultation with the Canadian sport community, the RCM is a call to action for organizations to implement realistic change to address the role coaches play with issues relating to the health and safety of athletes, both on and off the field of play.

“Swim Alberta is pleased to work together with our fellow provincial partners, the CSCTA and Swimming Canada on this important initiative. As a provincial governing body, ensuring the safety of our athletes and others involved in the sport continues to be our main priority,” said Swim Alberta Executive Director Cheryl Humphrey, chair of the executive directors’ council.

The initial focus of Swimming Canada and its partners will be on committing to three elements: mandating screening, ethics/respect training through the Respect in Sport group, and Open and Observable Environments.

Open and Observable Environments mean making meaningful and concerted efforts to avoid situations where a coach/official/staff member, etc. might be alone with an athlete. All interactions between an athlete and an individual who is in a position of trust should normally, and wherever possible, be in an environment or space that is both “open” and “observable” to others.

With the help of the Screening Working Group, Swimming Canada hopes to move towards a national screening strategy over the next year. Most provinces have a well-established screening process in place, as does the Canadian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association, which has screened all prospective coaches in Canada for more than 20 years.

“The CSCTA has been a longtime advocate of Safe Sport principles through our Code of Professional Conduct, policies and annual screening process,” said CSCTA Executive Director Chris Hindmarch-Watson. “We are proud to continue this and to support the efforts of the Coaching Association of Canada by joining Swimming Canada and our provincial partners in signing on to the Responsible Coaching Movement.”

“The CAC applauds Swimming Canada, the CSCTA, and the provincial swimming organizations for their leadership in providing a safe sport environment for athletes and coaches,” said Lorraine Lafrenière, CEO of the Coaching Association of Canada. “We are eager to continue working with them and to support the implementation of their responsible coaching policies.”

BUENOS AIRES-  Alexander Milanovich of Etobicoke, Ont., won the bronze medal in the men’s 50-m breaststroke on Friday to conclude the swimming competition of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

Michael James Houlie of South Africa won the gold medal in the men’s 50-m breaststroke in a time of 27.51. Sun Jiajun of China took the silver in 27.85, and Milanovich finished third in a personal best of 27.87.

“My race was pretty good, it feels great being here and medalling was even better,” said Milanovich. “This overall experience was outstanding, the staff and the people here are just incredible and it was great meeting new people.”

In the mixed 4×100-m medley relay, China took gold clocking in at 3:49.79, the Russian Federation was second in 3:51.46, and Japan third in 3:51.74.

Canada finished seventh in a time of 3:57.32. The Canadian swimmers were Madison Broad of Chatham, Ont., Alexander Milanovich, Joshua Liendo of North York, Ont., and Kyla Leibel of Red Deer, Alta.

“The Canadian team came away with many more finals and semifinals than we’ve had at past Youth Olympic Games,” said Ken McKinnon, Swimming Canada’s national development coach. “This was a fantastic performance from a group of really tough swimmers.”

Canada finished the competition with 12 semifinal performances, 11 finals, and 3 medals (Silver: 1, Bronze: 2).

“We had a tough competition as it’s very early in the season,” said McKinnon. “All of the swimmers are only five to six weeks off their last competition. However, it was amazing that they managed to get home, start school and get back to training and were able to swim within one percent of their best times and get on the podium three times.”

Earlier in the week, Finlay Knox, of Okotoks, Alta., won a bronze medal in the men’s 200-m individual medley with a time of 2:01.91.

“My race was good,” said Knox. “Going into the event I was ranked third with my best time, so I knew if I had a good swim I could place well.”

Knox also competed in the men’s 200-m breaststroke where he finished 18th. He was also a member of the men’s 4×100-m medley relay that finished 6th in the final. The relay included team members Joshua Liendo, Alexander Milanovich, and Sebastian Somerset.

On Tuesday night, Madison Broad brought home Canada’s second medal with her second place finish in the women’s 200-m backstroke. Broad was the first ever Canadian backstroke medallist at the Games.

Broad also competed in the women’s 100-m backstroke where she finished 5th in 1:01.37 and the women’s 50-m backstroke where she placed 7th with a time of 29.12.

The Canadian team achieved many firsts throughout the competition but most notably all 8 Canadian swimmers advanced to a semifinal or final in individual events, which is a first for Canada in Youth Olympic Games history.

Kyla Leibel advanced to the final in the women’s 100-m freestyle where she finished 8th in a time of 56.16. Leibel also progressed to semifinals in the women’s 50-m freestyle where she finished 10th in 25.77. Both of these times bettered the previous best Canadian time at the Youth Olympic Games.

Other Canadian semifinalists and finalists of the competition were: Nina Kucheran of Sudbury, Ont., 6th in the women’s 50-m breaststroke in 32.06, Avery Wiseman of Drayton Valley, Alta., 8th in the women’s 50-m breaststroke in 32.79 and 13th in the women’s 100-m breaststroke in 1:10.67, Kyla Leibel, 11th in the women’s 50-m butterfly in 27.30, Sebastian Somerset of Calgary 11th in the men’s 50-m backstroke in 26.45 and 15th in men’s 100-m backstroke in 56.98, and Joshua Liendo 16th in the men’s 50-m freestyle in 23.38.

Tune into CBC Saturday at 4:00 P.M. ET to catch some highlights of the Canadian swimming at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

Full results: Buenos Aires 2018

BUENOS AIRES – Madison Broad of Chatham, Ont., posted the top splits at the first three turns and took the silver medal in the women’s 200-m backstroke on Tuesday in swimming action at the Youth Olympic Games.

It was Canada’s second medal in the pool. On Tuesday, Finlay Knox of Okotoks, Alta., was third in the men’s 200-m individual medley.

Tatiana Salcutan of Moldova caught Broad on the final length clocking two minutes and 10.13 seconds for the win. Broad followed in a personal best 2:10.32 and Kaylee McKeown of Australia was third in 2:10.67.

Broad, 18, was seeded 11th going into the event and is the first ever Canadian backstroke medallist at the Games.

In the women’s 100-m freestyle, Barbora Seemanova of the Czech Republic took gold in 54.19 with Junxuan Yang of China second in 54.43 and Neza Klancar of Slovenia third in 54.55.

Kyla Leibel of Red Deer, Alta., was eighth in 56.16.

Canadians eliminated in the semifinals were Sebastian Somerset of Calgary 11th in the men’s 50-m backstroke in 26.45, Leibel in the 50-m butterfly in 27.30, Avery Wiseman of Drayton Valley, Alta., 13th in the women’s 100-m breaststroke in 1:10.67 and Joshua Liendo of North York, Ont, 16th in the men’s 50-m freestyle in 23.38.

Competition continues Wednesday.

Full results: Buenos Aires 2018

BUENOS AIRES – Finlay Knox of Okotoks, Alta., won Canada’s first swimming medal at the Youth Olympic Games on Monday night with the bronze in the men’s 200-m individual medley.

Tomoe Hvas of Norway won the gold medal in one minute and 59.58 seconds. Thomas Ceccon of Italy took the silver in 2:01.29 and Knox, seventh at the halfway point, surged to third in a personal best 2:01.91.

Knox is just the second male swimmer to ever win a medal for Canada at the Youth Olympics. Jeremy Bagshaw was the first in the 200-m freestyle in 2010.

Canadians were involved in three women finals.

In the 100-m backstroke, Daria Vaskina of Russia was first in 1:00.45 with Kaylee McKeown of Australia second in 1:00.58 and Rhyan White of the U.S. third in 1:00.60. Madison Broad of Chatham, Ont., bettered her time by 0.29 seconds in the final for fifth in 1:01.37, the fastest ever time for a Canadian at the Games.

In the 50-m breaststroke, Agne Seleikaite of Lithuania was the winner in 31.37 edging Chelsea Hodges of Australia in second at 31.42 and Tina Celik of Slovenia in third at 31.75. Nina Kucheran of Sudbury, Ont., was sixth in a personal best 32.06 and Avery Wiseman of Drayton Valley, Alta., eighth in 32.79. For Kucheran, she improved her seed ranking by 15 spots.

Canada was disqualified in the women’s 4X100 medley relay won by China in 4:05.18. On the relay for the Canadians were Broad, Kucheran, Wiseman and Kyla Leibel of Red Deer, Alta.

Leibel did advance to the finals in the 100-m freestyle placing seventh overall in the semifinals in 55.93, which bettered the previous best Canadian time at the Games by half a second.

Competition continues today.