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Relay initiatives rebooting for road to Tokyo

News –

VICTORIA – The Team Canada Trials are in the books but the process continues to develop Canada’s relays for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and beyond.

Swimming Canada gathered 30 promising young swimmers and their coaches in Victoria this week for a Relay Takeoff Camp immediately following the Trials

Beginning with a male relay initiative in 2014, Swimming Canada has been carrying out a long -term plan to get swimmers to embrace a relay mindset. The organization added a female relay initiative in 2015, and offered a total of eight relay-focused initiatives over the past three years.

This focus, which was not always a priority in the past, has shown immediate success with relay medals at FINA World Junior Championships and Olympic Games. Now the programs are being rebooted for the road to Tokyo, beginning with a camp this week involving a variety of testing and training exercises.

“This time we’re running it for both males and females,” explained High Performance Director John Atkinson. “The concept is to identify our future national team members from a range of age groups in both males and females. We see who has the capacity to swim both the 100 and the 200-m freestyle, and then we bring them in, we educate them and their coaches, find out what their strengths and weaknesses are, and educate them about relay swimming for Canada.

“These initiatives worked so well last quad. We want to take our top 100 and 200 freestylers, males and females, and help them maintain and improve their rankings. It’s about identifying the next generation of relays for Tokyo 2020 and beyond.”

National Development Coach Ken McKinnon took the lead on the camp, which featured young swimmers chosen based on a combination of performance and potential. Plans are in the works to follow up with separate male and female camps. It’s all part of Swimming Canada’s concerted effort and focus on identifying On Track athletes, and offering them development opportunities through the organization’s strong technical staff.

“The 2017 male and female relay take off camps are continuing initiatives of our long-term strategy of our relay success in Rio,” McKinnon said. “We’re looking at swimmers with the potential for performance over the quadrennial, into Tokyo.”

The following swimmers took part:

SWIMMERS – NAGEURS Name – Nom Club Personal Coach – Entraineur personnel
Samuel Bélanger Rouge et Or/University Laval (Québec) Nicholas Perron
Stephen Calkins University of Calgary Swim Club (Alberta) Brian Schrader
Ethan Fazekas Windsor Aquatic Club (Ontario) Mike McWha
Mackenzie Flowers Edmonton Keyano Swim Club (Alberta) Derrick Schoof
Ruslan Gaziev Etobicoke Swim Club (Ontario) Kevin Thorburn
Colin Gilbert Kamloops Classic Swimming (British Columbia) Brad Dalke
Emil Goin Pointe-Claire Swim Club (Québec) Martin Gingras
Justin Konik Etobicoke Swim Club (Ontario) Kevin Thorburn
Sean Murray Mississauga Aquatic Club (Ontario) Kevin Anderson
Carson Olafson UBC Dolphins Swim Club (British Columbia), HPC Vancouver Tom Johnson
Alexandre Perreault Ottawa Swim Club (Ontario) Blair Tucker
Alexander Pratt Cascade Swim Club (Alberta) Dave Johnson
Tai Long Singh Winskill Dolphins (British Columbia) Amy Canuel
Josh Zakala Island Swimming (British Columbia), CSI Pacific NextGen Program Brad Dingey
Paul Zou Winskill Dolphins (British Columbia) Amy Canuel
Brooklyn Douthwright Codiac Vikings Aquatic Club (New Brunswick) Dale Doucette
Aleksa Gold Toronto Swim Club (Ontario) Bill O’Toole
Jade Hannah Island Swimming (British Columbia), CSI Pacific NextGen Program Brad Dingey
Mary-Sophie Harvey Neptune Natation (Québec), Intensive Training Program Montreal Tom Rushton
Hanna Henderson Etobicoke Swim Club (Ontario) Kevin Thorburn
Faith Knelson Island Swimming (British Columbia), CSI Pacific NextGen Program Brad Dingey
Victoria Kwan Markham Aquatic Club (Ontario) Robert Novak
Octavia Lau Hyack Swim Club (British Columbia) Mark Bottrill
Kyla Leibel Red Deer Catalina Swim Club (Alberta) Scott Wilson
Jessica Luo Pacific Coast Swimming (British Columbia) Rod Barratt
Catherin Matte Club de Natation Région de Québec (Québec) Claude Lamy
Amanda McCallum Richmond Rapids Swim Club (British Columbia) Drew McClure
Ainsley McMurray Côte St-Luc Aquatics (Québec) Mike Calcutt
Isabel Sarty Halifax Trojan Aquatic Club (Nova Scotia) Chris Stone
Florence Vachon Rouge et Or/Université Laval (Québec) Johanne Girardin