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Virtual camps give national team experience to new generation of coaches

News –

In the month of January, Swimming Canada held six virtual stroke event camps that were attended by over 100 national senior and development team swimmers and their coaches. The camps featured a wide array of content, team bonding activities and knowledgeable speakers from across the country. They also gave an opportunity for a new generation of coaching staff to shine through with their active participation in both setting up and running the camps.

One of these coaches was Zoe Miles, Head Coach of the Sackville Waves Aquatic Team, who was appointed Assistant Coach for the 400m-and-up freestyle camp.

“When I was invited to participate in the 400m-and-up freestyle coaching staff, I was excited to work closely with the other selected staff,” said Miles. “Networking and coach collaboration has been at an all-time low during COVID-19, so it was great to participate in something outside of my team again.”

Miles was fully involved with the planning of the camp alongside Head Coach, Abderrahmane Tissira from the Regina Optimist Dolphins Swim Team, Mentor Coach Brad Dingey from the High Performance Centre – Vancouver, and Mark Perry, Swimming Canada’s National Distance and Open Water Coach. The group met weekly to plan out the content of the camp and creating the weekly template of practices that went along with it.

“I found that being a part of this coaching staff put me out of my comfort zone in a really great way,” said Miles. “I think that being able to spend 30-40 minutes each week as part of the planning call was so valuable. I learned more about how some of the best coaches in the country are structuring their key sets for their athletes.”

Miles was also given the opportunity during the camp to take the lead role in facilitating an athlete panel with some national team members, something she is very proud of. Miles said she felt very nervous going into it as she is a fairly quiet person but felt she generated some really great discussions with the athletes.

Miles now has a deeper understanding of energy systems and why it’s important to fully comprehend them and incorporate them into her practices. Moving forward she is going include some of the key sets from the camp’s weekly template into her swimmers training plan.

“Being part of this camp gave me a renewed enthusiasm for coaching,” said Miles. “I plan to incorporate athlete education, new training ideas and different race tactic sets from this experience with my home athletes throughout the spring.”

Miles final take away from this opportunity was the confirmation that she wants to keep working hard towards being nominated as a coach for future Junior and Senior National Teams.

“Even though it was a virtual camp, it was still one of my most fun coaching experiences.”