TORONTO – The High Performance Centre – Ontario continues to build its elite training group, with the announcement that Sydney Pickrem will be joining the program.
Fresh off helping the London Roar to a third-place finish in the International Swimming League with Canadian-record swims in the 400-m and 200-m individual medley, the four-time world championships medallist will go directly from Budapest to Toronto to join the growing group led by Head Coach Ben Titley and Associate Head Coach Ryan Mallette.
“I’m focused on high performance and being the best international racer I can be. The ISL was a great way to get back to racing, now it’s time for me to focus on preparing to be the best I can be at the Trials in April,” Pickrem said.
“Sydney is a great young woman. We’ve worked with her on a number of national teams and we love her positivity,” Titley said. “She will be training with world-class swimmers on a daily basis. She will raise the standard and be someone that younger swimmers can learn from and race against. She will be great for our program and great in our program. We’re excited to have her and we’re looking forward to being part of her future success.”
Pickrem joins a group that includes multiple international medallists Penny Oleksiak, Taylor Ruck, Kayla Sanchez and Rebecca Smith. Pickrem, Ruck, Oleksiak and Smith all had three medals at last year’s FINA World Championships in Gwangju, Korea, while Sanchez had two. The HPC-Ontario roster also includes national team veterans Mack Darragh and Yuri Kisil, world junior medallists Finlay Knox and Joshua Liendo, and earlier this year welcomed world junior champion Jade Hannah and young newcomers Elan Daley, 15, and Summer McIntosh, 14. As High Performance athletes, coaches and support staff training to be a part of Team Canada at the next summer Olympic Games, the HPC-Ontario group is permitted by the Government of Ontario to train under Swimming Canada and Swim Ontario COVID-19 safety protocols, being communicated by Swim Ontario.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to train at the High Performance Centre – Ontario. I’ve worked with Ben and Ryan before and I’m excited to see what my future swimming career has in store under their coaching,” said Pickrem, a recent graduate of Texas A&M University who was previously based in College Station, Tex.
The group at HPC-Ontario is expected to form a large part of Canada’s nucleus for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, with some of the younger swimmers representing potential for Paris 2024 and beyond.
“It is great to have Sydney in Canada and at HPC-Ontario for her preparation towards the Tokyo Olympic Games. She is a world-class athlete who has proven herself at the international level time and time again and will only add to an already great group of swimmers,” said Senior Coach, Olympic Program, Martyn Wilby. “It’s a positive move for Team Canada, for Sydney, and for the centre, and we expect her to be a leader in the group and on the national team.”
Based at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, HPC-Ontario is a focused elite training environment that provides an integrated support team in partnership with the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, offering sport science and sport medicine support through specialists in physiotherapy, massage therapy, mental performance, biomechanics, physiology, nutrition, and strength and conditioning.
In addition to her four world medals, Pickrem finished sixth in the 200-m individual medley at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, an event in which she holds the Canadian short-course and long-course records. She is also a Pan Pacific Championships and Pan American Games medallist.
High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson said the move matches an elite athlete in Pickrem with the strength of Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centre network.
“Swimming Canada and its partners – Own the Podium, the Canadian Olympic Committee and Sport Canada – invest in the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre network to provide each athlete with the optimal world-class daily training environment,” Atkinson said. “Sydney is a talented athlete and by joining the HPC-Ontario program, which is also supported by Swim Ontario, she will receive the support to ensure her Olympic preparations can continue at the highest levels. The environment that the management at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre help create with the support from the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario is exactly what our high performance athletes in Canada need.”