The new Head Coach of Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centre – Vancouver comes with a strong pedigree, connections to Canada, and – most importantly – his own impressive international coaching resume.
Scott Talbot, the son of the late legendary coaches Don Talbot and Jan Cameron, will take the helm as HPC-Vancouver Performance Head Coach at the University of British Columbia Aquatic Centre this fall. The Director of Swimming and Head Coach of Repton Swimming Club & School in Derbyshire, U.K., has experience competing and coaching at multiple Olympic Games, world championships and other major meets.
“As someone who works in swimming and knows the sport, it is easy to see the commitment from Swimming Canada to establish itself as one of the top swimming nations in the world,” Scott Talbot said. “Personally, I am excited to have the opportunity work alongside some of the best support staff and coaches in the world.”
Talbot, 41, was born in Australia and moved to Canada at two years old when Don Talbot took over as head coach in the 1980s, one of the country’s most successful eras in the pool. He began his schooling in Ottawa, where the family lived until Don Talbot took a similar position with Australian Swimming in 1989, leading the country to its incredible success at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Cameron, who herself was an Olympic silver medallist for Australia in 1964, often worked alongside Don Talbot and later established herself as a high-level coach in her own right, including leadership roles in New Zealand and success with Australia at Paralympic Games, World Para Swimming Championships and Commonwealth Games.
Scott Talbot swam at two Olympic Games and was a national record holder for New Zealand, where he grew up from age 10 with his mother. He went on to pursue a career in coaching, including a High Performance Coach role for Swimming New Zealand at two Olympic Games, and later moved to Australia. He worked at Sydney University, and the successful Nunawading Swimming Club in Melbourne, which was also a Swimming Australia High Performance Centre. Talbot earned multiple appointments to Australian national teams at major championships and Games during his eight years Down Under. Three of his Nunawading-based swimmers qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, to which Talbot was appointed before the Games were delayed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. With the delay of the Games to 2021, Talbot forewent his opportunity to represent Australia in Tokyo. He went on to assume his current role at Repton Swimming in September 2020.
“Swimming Canada conducted an international search for coaching talent at our two High Performance Centres, and we are delighted to have Scott move into this role. He will bring a fresh drive and enthusiasm to build the centre to Paris 2024 and ultimately to Los Angeles 2028. As well as his own Olympic credentials, he has coached swimmers who have competed at the past four Olympic Games and has coached at five world championships. His experience will be a great asset for the Swimming Canada HPC-Vancouver,” said High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson.
Talbot says he’s always maintained a connection to Canada, and learned many things from watching his parents coach.
“The two most important characteristics I learned from watching my parents operate were to be a great communicator and to work as a team in getting the best results. In swimming today, the most important quality for a high-level coach to have is to be a great communicator, and being able to use many different tools to get the best out of people,” Talbot said. “Also in today’s world, where the level of competition is so high, getting the best results are achieved through effective teamwork. Having a team of people around you who you can trust and deliver for one another will get you the result faster.”
“We look forward to welcoming Scott to our centre and seeing it build and develop to 2024 and 2028,” said Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “He has proven himself on the international stage as both a competitor and a coach. We look forward to watching him build the centre and adding to the Talbot legacy in Canada.”
Talbot and his wife Lucy will be moving to Canada from Repton, where they live with their two children, Isabella, 6, and Charlotte, who was born in October. He will lead a full complement of full-time staff at the centre including Assistant Coach Mandy Bell, Performance Scientist Coach Tom Vandenbogaerde and Performance Analyst Graham Olson, working together in a world-class daily training environment at UBC. Bell and Vandenbogaerde both joined the staff earlier this year. Vandenbogaerde and Talbot worked together at Swimming New Zealand, and crossed paths again during their time in Australia.
“The High Performance Centres in Ontario and Vancouver will be a key part of our national program strategy toward the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games,” Atkinson said. “The appointment of Scott along with Ryan Mallette’s recent confirmation as Performance Head Coach at the HPC-Ontario puts our Performance Head Coaches in place to lead the centres. There will now be a recruitment process undertaken for an Assistant Coach for the HPC-Ontario and more details will follow on this process.”
Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centres provide an environment aimed at developing identified swimmers to their full potential, with a goal of reaching the international podium. High Performance Centre athletes have earned more than three quarters of Swimming Canada’s individual medals at Olympic Games and World Championships since 2007.
The HPC-Vancouver program has been home to many top swimmers under previous longtime coach Tom Johnson, who retired following the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Since opening in 1998, it has produced numerous Olympians and international medallists including Martha McCabe, Emily Overholt, Brent Hayden and open water swimmer Richard Weinberger. New swimmers are expected to join the core group at the centre in the fall.
“Scott’s ability to build and develop High Performance programs to be successful is a great fit for the HPC-Vancouver at UBC. He will build a great rapport with the athletes and staff at the centre and the university,” Atkinson said.
Interim Head Coach Martyn Wilby will be returning to his role as Senior Coach, Olympic Program, after the transition.
“We would like to thank Martyn for stepping in to provide stability at the centre over the past several months,” Atkinson said. “Martyn will continue to be a key resource as we work towards Scott taking over the centre full-time, and on an ongoing basis as we continue to grow and build our centres, working with Canadian club and university swimmers wherever they may be.”
Swimmers interested in getting more information about a High Performance Centre are encouraged to fill out this form: https://forms.swimming.ca/machform/view.php?id=35819