Swimming Canada was well represented when Petro-Canada unveiled the 2020 recipients of the Fuelling Athlete and Coaching Excellence (FACE) program grants earlier this fall.
Para swimmers Clémence Paré and Jacob Brayshaw, along with their respective mentors Mike Edey and Renate Terpstra, were announced among the 55 athlete-coach pairs who each received $10,000 in funding to help them along their journey.
The FACE program grants are awarded to athletes who are striving to represent Canada at the Olympic and Paralympic Games but do not yet qualify for government funding. The funds are used for training, equipment, coach education, and competition travel expenses.
“The partnership between swimmer and coach underpins every gold medal and personal best performance in our sport,” said Wayne Lomas, Swimming Canada’s Associate Director of High Performance and Para Swimming National Coach. “In a sport as individual as swimming, partnerships are rarely given enough recognition. However, the awarding of FACE grants to Mike and Clémence as well as to Renate and Jacob demonstrates the multiple partnerships that support success and define Swimming Canada’s approach to high performance.
“I’d like to thank Petro-Canada for their belief in these partnerships as they provide critical financial support and recognition for our next generation of coaches and swimmers.”
Paré, who hails from Boucherville, Que., trains out of Montreal’s High Performance Centre – Quebec. The 17-year-old represented Canada at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima after she claimed a multi-class silver medal in the 50-m backstroke and set a personal best time in the 200-m freestyle at the Canadian Trials.
“The team Mike and I form is based on important values, in particular trust and communication,” said Paré, whose goal is to qualify for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris. “Receiving this grant is recognition of my potential. It gives me the opportunity to advance towards my goals as a Para swimmer.
“I can’t wait to start competing again on the national and international scene.”
According to Edey, receiving the grant comes at a crucial time for athlete-coach tandems such as Paré and himself.
“As a high performance athlete, Clémence’s accomplishments in her young career set a very high bar to clear in order to continue to improve. As an athlete who hasn’t yet been carded, she doesn’t have access to those resources so this grant will go a long ways to bridging our way to even better performances in the future.”
When talking about his partnership with Paré, Edey is quick to point out that working together “is a community larger than the two of us.”
“The people, services and culture at HPC-Quebec are fantastic. Any coach would give their eye teeth for an Integrated Support Team like we have here. Similarly, the training group and head coach Mike Thompson complete a high performance environment that is the structure upon which everyone’s success is built.
“I love working here with Mike, all of the athletes and our IST because you never have to apologize for wanting to be better. We are here to do great things.”
Lomas is also all praise when it comes to the work accomplished at HPC-Quebec.
“Mike and Clémence’s development and early success is a product of Swimming Canada’s partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Institut national du sport du Québec and Fédération de natation du Québec, who partner to deliver the world class HPC-Quebec program. This is further evidenced by the partnership between head coach Mike Thompson and Mike Edey, his trusted assistant coach and confidante. This level of trust and partnership, at all levels of our operations, underpins growth, success and performance.”
Brayshaw trains with Terpstra out of KISU Swim Club in Penticton, B.C. The 18-year-old, who started swimming competitively at age 13, also wore the Maple Leaf at the 2019 Parapan Am Games following an impressive performance at the Canadian Trials, where he won a multi-class gold medal in the 50-m breaststroke and lowered Canadian S2 records in the 50 and 100-m backstroke.
“This grant means a lot to both Coach Renate and myself. It means that we can focus more on actual swimming, and also do more outside of the pool,” said Brayshaw, who is originally from Hamilton and now resides in Coldstream, B.C. “Having these funds eliminates any concerns we would have had regarding our budget for the upcoming season.
“Our partnership has been so successful due to the amount of trust we have in each other. We’ve been training together for six years, so the trust allows us to streamline our efforts at improving every day.”