Swimming Canada announced Friday the final coaches and team staff nominated to the Canadian team for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, set to get under way on August 24.
Janet Dunn, a long-serving Swimming Canada staff member and Ryan Allen, who heads the Club de natation Bleu et Or in Moncton, N.B., are the latest additions to the coaching staff led by National Para Swimming Senior Coach Vince Mikuska, joining Eric Kramer, Marc-André Pelletier and Mike Thompson, who were appointed in early 2020.
A member of World Para Swimming’s High Support Needs (PI) Working Group and a member of the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame, Dunn is a veteran of eight Paralympic Games, her first being 1976.
Allen, regarded as one of the country’s top up-and-coming coaches, was part of the Canadian coaching staff at the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games. One of his Bleu et Or swimmers, Danielle Dorris, was nominated to the Tokyo 2020 squad earlier this month.
“Janet is one of Canada’s most experienced para swimming coaches,” said Wayne Lomas, Swimming Canada Associate High Performance Director and Para Swimming National Coach. “Her knowledge and thorough understanding of the biomechanical, technical and physiological responses that each swimmer experiences as a result of their impairment is an invaluable part of preparing a swimmer for peak performance.
“Ryan is a young, passionate and educated coach whose growth mindset, adaptability, coupled with the success that he and his swimmers have enjoyed makes him an asset to our coaching team in Tokyo. He also demonstrated great understanding of the role of Team Coach during the Parapan American Games, where he performed very well.”
Meanwhile, the highly-qualified staff leaders nominated includes team manager Emma Van Steen, team physician Dr. Andréane Bourgeois, Integrated Support Team lead Myriam Paquette PhD, as well as psychologist Daphné Laurin-Landry PhD and Psy. D.
Van Steen, Bourgeois and Paquette were all part of the Canadian delegation at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in London.
“I am particularly excited to assemble such a team of experts in our key leadership roles of team operations manager, IST lead, team physician and team psychologist. Emma, Myriam, Andréane and Daphné will play a vital role in our success, performance, health and enjoyment,” said Lomas. “These Paralympic Games, like no Games ever before, require us to be adaptable, nimble and smart. Our focus on the health and wellbeing, both physical and emotional, throughout the Games journey, as well as how well we can build and modify smart plans to support performance will be key to achieving our collective and individual goals.
“Daphné joins our team in Tokyo having worked carefully behind the scenes for the past two years. Given the importance of mental health, plus the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in with these Games, I have made the decision to bring an even stronger focus on supporting the mental health and psychological wellbeing of all of our team and having Daphné with us in Tokyo helps us in that regards.”
Rounding out the staff heading to Tokyo are registered massage therapist Stephanie Coughlan, physiotherapist Kurt Kranz and COVID liaison officer Marj Walton.
“Marj is a very familiar face to our team, having been team manager at previous Paralympic Games. In her position as Swim Saskatchewan’s Executive Director, Marj has played a central role in managing the requirements for a safe return to swimming and will perform a vital role in our adherence to the health and safety requirements as laid out in the Tokyo 2020 Playbook.”
Lomas is confident Swimming Canada has nominated the best possible team to have success in Tokyo.
“Every member of our team has achieved so much individually, we have world record holders, Paralympic gold medallists, athletes and coaches with significant Games experience as well as coaches who have led athletes and teams to success at the highest level. We also have highly-experienced professional practitioners, doctors, PhD’s and successful professionals in many fields. What binds us is that we share the common goal of supporting each other to perform at our best on the day that matters.
“In recognizing our key staff and coaches, I’d like to pay special tribute to coaches Marc-André Pelletier, Eric Kramer and Mike Thompson, who were named to this team in early 2020, and who have, like all coaches, worked so hard to continue to prepare their swimmers for the Paralympic Games, supporting our planning toward Tokyo while themselves dealing with the personal and professional impacts of the pandemic.”
Five of Thompson’s swimmers were nominated to the Tokyo 2020 roster, including two medallists from the 2019 WPS Worlds. Pelletier will have three of his athletes in Tokyo, all of them London 2019 medallists, while Kramer will have two, one of whom reached the podium in the UK capital.
“Under Vince’s direction, our coaching team brings a mix of skills, experience, personality and background. Vince has the special ability to bring each of these unique characteristics to the fore and lead a coaching staff toward a unified purpose. I know that Vince, Marc-André, Eric and Mike, joined now by Janet and Ryan, have the skills, experience and passion to support each other, and our swimmers, through what will be a very challenging, but enjoyable and successful Paralympic Games campaign.”
SWIMMING CANADA STAFF: TOKYO 2020 PARALYMPIC GAMES
|Team Leader||Wayne Lomas||Swimming Canada|
|Team Manager||Emma Van Steen||Swimming Canada|
|Head Coach||Vince Mikuska||Swimming Canada|
|IST Lead||Myriam Paquette PhD||Institut national du sport du Québec|
|Physician||Dr. Andréane Bourgeois||Institut national du sport du Québec|
|Psychologist||Daphné Laurin-Landry PhD and Psy. D.||Private Operator|
|Team Coach||Ryan Allen||Club de natation Bleu et Or|
|Team Coach||Janet Dunn||Swimming Canada|
|Team Coach||Eric Kramer||Saskatoon Lasers Swim Club|
|Team Coach||Marc-André Pelletier||Club de Natation Région de Québec|
|Team Coach||Mike Thompson||CHP-Quebec|
|Registered Massage Therapist||Stephanie Coughlan||Private Operator|
|Physiotherapist||Kurt Kranz||Sports Medicine Centre (Ottawa)|
|COVID Liaison Officer||Marj Walton||Swim Saskatchewan|