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Swimming Canada revamps HPC-Vancouver with coaching change, performance scientist coach

News –

Swimming Canada today announced major changes to the staff of its High Performance Centre – Vancouver, including a coaching change and a new performance scientist coach.

Swimming Canada Senior Coach, Olympic Program, Martyn Wilby will assume the role of Interim Head Coach at the HPC-Vancouver, replacing Brad Dingey. Swimming Canada also announced the appointment the of world-leading sport scientist Tom Vandenbogaerde to the role of Performance Scientist Coach, in partnership with Canadian Sport Institute Pacific.

Wilby, who has been Canada’s head coach at major international championships since joining the organization in January 2017, will maintain the HPC-Van role through to the conclusion of this summer’s Commonwealth Games. He is coming off Canada’s most successful FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) of all time in Abu Dhabi last month, where he was head coach of the team that won 15 medals, including seven gold.

Prior to working with Swimming Canada, Wilby had a distinguished career in the United States that included 19 years at the University of Florida Gators. As the Associate Head Coach, he worked alongside long time Team USA Olympic Coach Gregg Troy. From 2006 to 2016 Wilby coached multiple Olympic champions, NCAA champions and world record holders, and will now bring this experience on deck to the centre in Vancouver.

“I have worked to progress opportunities for our athletes since I began working with Swimming Canada,” Wilby said. “I am now looking forward to getting on deck and working with the athletes, staff, coaches in Vancouver and ultimately progressing their performance into 2022 and beyond.”

While focusing on the athletes at the University of British Columbia-based centre, Wilby will continue to undertake a key role on national teams. He will ensure strong alignment with the overall Swimming Canada Strategic Plan to ensure that HPC-Vancouver contributes towards the organization’s objectives for the Olympic Games in 2024 and 2028.

“The time is right for a strategic shift at the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Vancouver, based at UBC,” said Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “In order to build on the national team results at the last two Olympic Games, we envision a strong centre in Vancouver as we move toward the 2024 Games in Paris and 2028 in Los Angeles.”

“Coaching and staffing appointments at HPC-Vancouver will be key to progressing the program toward the ultimate performance level at the Olympic Games,” added High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson. “We recently announced the appointment of Coach Mandy Bell to serve as the program’s assistant coach and she will work alongside Wilby in the new team structure.”

Meanwhile, Vandenbogaerde will be employed through CSI Pacific and be deployed full-time to Swimming Canada, based at HPC-Vancouver. He will lead the HPC integrated support team programming and take on several nationally focused roles for Swimming Canada.

“We are delighted to have Tom come to work with Swimming Canada,” Atkinson said. “His world-class expertise will significantly enhance the daily training environment at HPC-Vancouver and on our national teams. Tom has a proven track record of leadership in coaching and athlete support that is focused on driving growth and development opportunities.”

Originally from Belgium, Vandenbogaerde has worked in Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Most recently he was the Lead Physiologist for Swimming Australia and prior to this role he held senior sport science leadership roles with the Australian Institute of Sport, High Performance Sport New Zealand and the New Zealand Academy of Sport.

“I could not be more thrilled to take on the newly established role of Performance Scientist Coach at CSI Pacific in partnership with Swimming Canada,” Vandenbogaerde said.

“It is a very exciting opportunity to be part of Canada’s push towards, and delivery of, swimming excellence. I look forward to starting the role, getting to know the people and their goals, and being part of making each other better.”

The work Vandenbogaerde undertook with Swimming Australia significantly contributed toward the success of their teams at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo last year. He will bring a practical approach to swimming and has a breadth of knowledge across several disciplines that will greatly contribute to the role with HPC-Vancouver and the overall national program. In addition to the responsibilities at HPC-Vancouver and with the national teams, Vandenbogaerde will also act as an advisor to the Swimming Canada Paralympic program and contribute his sport science expertise to the Swimming Canada National Coaching Certification Program delivery and development.

“We are thrilled to welcome such an experienced leader to our integrated support team to help support our swimmers, coaches and IST staff. Tom’s knowledge and skillset will have a direct daily impact with athletes at HPC-Vancouver, and benefit our entire national swimming program,” said Associate High Performance Director Iain McDonald, who directs Swimming Canada’s IST programming. “CSI Pacific has been a tremendous partner in creating this role and making this appointment possible. This strong collaboration has benefited our program across a number of areas.”

“This is an exciting time to be part of swimming in Canada and we are committed to ensuring our Olympic High Performance Centres in both Ontario and Vancouver are in the best possible position to support athletes and programs toward the Olympic Games in 2024 and 2028,” Atkinson added. “The programs and High Performance Centres we offer are only possible because of the support from the Government of Canada, Sport Canada, Own the Podium and the Canadian Olympic Committee, and we appreciate and value that support. This new-look team at the HPC-Vancouver will ensure the objectives of Swimming Canada will be achieved as we work towards the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games.”

Outgoing Head Coach Brad Dingey had served in the role since the closure of the HPC-Victoria in August 2020. Previously he served as head coach of HPC-Victoria for 2019-20 after leading the Victoria NextGen Program since 2015.

“Swimming Canada thanks Brad for his contributions to the organization in his various roles and wishes him the best in the future,” Atkinson said.