2020 Swammy Awards: Canadian Coach Of The Year, Tom Johnson


For the second year in a row, the Swammy Award for Canadian Coach of the Year goes to Tom Johnson, the former head coach and current assistant coach of the High Performance Centre Vancouver in British Columbia. Johnson was the head coach of Swimming Canada’s Vancouver HPC for the majority of 2020 until now-head coach Brad Dingey took over in August 2020. The current squad training out center includes:

  • Haley Black
  • Raben Dommann
  • Kau-Li Fan
  • Richard Funk
  • Danielle Hanus
  • Brent Hayden
  • Stephanie Horner
  • Carson Olafson
  • Emily Overholt
  • Alexander Pratt
  • Kate Sanderson
  • Markus Thormeyer

Markus Thormeyer, Emily Overholt, and Alex Pratt were among those from the center who raced at the 2020 USports Swimming Championships. Together, those three picked up a total of 16 medals at the meet, contributing to UBC’s victory of both the men’s and women’s national collegiate titles in 2020.

Markes Thormeyer 2020 USports Medals

  • Gold: 200 free, 4×100 free, 100 back, 4×200 free, 200 back, 100 free, 4×100 medley

Emily Overholt 2020 USports Medals

  • Gold: 200 free, 400 IM, 4×100 free, 400 free, 4×200 free, 4×100 medley
  • Silver: 200 IM

Alex Pratt 2020 USports Medals

  • Gold: 4×100 free, 4×200 free, 4×100 medley
  • Bronze: 200 free, 100 free

Thormeyer’s 50 and 100 backstroke victories were also fast enough to take down both USports Championship records, setting new marks of 53.51 and 1:58.54, respectively.

A few weeks after the 2020 USports Championships, HPC Vancouver’s Brent Hayden made his to the 2020 Pro Swim Series in Des Moines, Iowa. Hayden was a few months into his comeback to the sport following a nearly 8-year hiatus. Hayden hit a significant milestone in his bid for a fourth Olympic nod when swam a 21.97 long course 50 freestyle, getting under the Olympic ‘A’ cut in the event. That was only 0.24 seconds off his Canadian record in the event and was the only sub-22 swim from a Candian since Santo Condorelli’s 2016 swim of 21.83.

At that same meet, Hayden swam a 49.46 100 freestyle, securing his spot as #3 in the country last season sitting behind fellow Olympians Yuri Kisil (49.15) and Markus Thormeyer (49.36).

Johnson’s Thormeyer, Overholt, and Hayden closed out 2020 with their involvement in the second season of the International Swimming League. All three raced for debuting ISL teams; Overholt and Hayden on the Toronto Titans and Thormeyer on the Tokyo Frog Kings. Overholt contributed 26 points to the Titans throughout the season, including 2 4th place finishes (200 fly/400 IM) and a 5th place (400 free) at semi-final #2. Hayden on the other hand was a key member of Toronto’s relays this season, picking up 2 first place, second place, and third place finishes each throughout over the course of the team’s 5 meets.

Thormeyer was a strong member of Tokyo’s debut ISL team this year, holding down the backstroke slots with fellow Frog Kings Ryosuke Irie. Thormeyer delivered 66.50 points season-wide for Tokyo, ending as the 121st ranked swimmer in the league. Thormeyer also managed to knock a whole 1.03 seconds off of the Canadian 200 backstroke record, taking it from a 1:51.30 to a 1:50.27.

In August 2020, Johnson was replaced as head coach of the High Performance Centre Vancouver by former HPC Victorias coach Brad Dingey. Johnson, however, remains on staff in Vancouver and will continue working with the squad through to the Tokyo 2020 Games next summer.


In no particular order

  • Byron MacDonald & Linda Kiefer – MacDonald & Kiefer had another successful year as head coach and assistant head coach of the University of Toronto swim team. At the 2020 USports Championships, their women’s and men’s teams earned 2nd and 3rd place team finishes respectively. At that meet, MacDonald and Kiefer coached Toronto Blues swimmers Hannah Genich, Cameron Kidd, and Aleksa Gold to national titles. MacDonald went on in 2020 t0 assume the head coaching position of the Toronto Titans in their ISL season where former UofT swimmer Kylie Masse lead the debuting team to a 7th place finish in the league.
  • Ben Titley – Ben Titley is the current head coach of the High Performance Centre Toronto. As many of the center’s key athletes were largely out of the pool this year, Titley’s star athlete this year was a recent addition to the squad in the form of Finlay Knox. Knox won this year’s Swammy for Canadian Male Swimmer of the Year after delivering new Canadian senior records in both the 200 and 400 IMs.

Past Winners

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2 years ago

“Hau-Li” Fan

2 years ago

I think you forgot Haley Black (Aqua Centurions) among the swimmers who competed in ISL this season.

Season 2 hype
Reply to  GD20
2 years ago

Her season was pretty forgettable unless you are compiling a list of the worst in the isl. She scored a point and a half over her whole four meet season… I can still remember her losing by 10 secs in the 100 breast.