Note: this award recognizes coaches getting it done at the junior and developmental level. That’s as compared to our Senior Coach of the Year, which was awarded to Randy Bennett earlier today.
This year saw a significnat number of age-group records falling in Canada, just like we’ve seen in every other country around the world. In the male short course meters category an approximate nine records fell (approximate because swimming Canada has not updated their record list yet). An incredible 15 long course age-group records fell for the boys. Five short course records and three long course records fell for the female age-group swimmers nationwide.
Among the nine short course records that fell, six of them were from Sean Baker’s Oakville Aquatic Club. Baker’s top prospect Evan White just recently broke the 200m fly and 200m breaststroke age-group records at the Thunderbolt invitational in Oregon. Previously in the year he had broken the 200m IM and 100m fly records, aiding his team in both the 4x50m free and 4x50m medley relays as well.
In the long course pool Baker’s star swimmer broke both the 100m fly and 200m IM records, also aiding his team to two new records in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relays. Those times give Oakville Aquatic club a sweep of the freestyle relays for the long course 15-17 age-group category.
With Baker’s swimmers improving the way they are, it would be nearly impossible not to give him the 2013 Swammy award for the Canadian junior coach of the year. Baker lead his squad to an impressive win this summer at the Canadian national championships in the team scoring, and at the 2013 age-group championships Baker’s club finished third behind Point-Claire swim club and the Etobicoke swim club.
The Oakville Aquatic Club has always been one of the top contenders at provincial level competition, winning the LC Ontario Provincials for the sixth year in a row this July. Oakville Aquatic Club was never a true national contender until Sean Baker joined the coaching staff in 2010. Since then, the team has exploded onto the national scene competing as one of the top clubs in Canada. Baker was the recipient of last year’s big splash award for coach of the year.
One of Baker’s finest swimmers, Olympian Tera Van Beilen, finished 21st in the 200m breaststroke at the World Championships this summer. Van Beilen is currently swimming for the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, but like many she developed her roots with Baker.
Some of Baker’s greatest swimmers such as Evan White and Bryce Kwiecien-Delaney, will be swimming with the University of Michigan next year. Kwiecien-Delaney won a national title in the 100m freestyle this past summer on route to Oakville’s team victory. White
Baker has clearly found a program that’s working with Canadian age-groupers and we will likely continue to see impressive swims coming from his ranks. Congratulations to Baker for the 2013 Swammy award.
- Kevin Thorburn, Etobicoke: Thorburn is the head coach at the Etobicoke aquatic club. His team won the 2013 Age-Group Nationals an set a large amount of age-group records as well. Thorburn has produced some incredible swimmers such as IMer Tristan Cote who competed at the 2013 World Juniors. Thorburn was selected to be a coach for the junior national team following his team’s performance at summer nationals.
- Murray Drudge, North York Aquatic Club: Murray Drudge is the head coach at the North York Aquatic Club located in Toronto. Drudge has some top notch swimmers that he’s created such as Canadian distance star Teddy Kalp. Drudge recieved a Coach Of The Year award at this year’s 2013 Big Splash Awards for Kalp’s performances.