Former 200 breaststroke world record holder Annamay Pierse will be joining the Oakville Aquatic Club’s coaching staff for the 2013-14 season. Pierse will join fellow Canadian Olympians Melanie McKay, who competed in Montreal in 1976 and Laura Nicholls, who represented Canada at both 1996 games in Atlanta and 2000 games in Sydney.
Pierse represented Canada at the 2008 Olympics in Bejing placing sixth in the 200 breaststroke and 10th in the 100 breaststroke, missing the final by just four one-hundredths of a second. She went on to break the world record in the 200 breaststroke in the semi-finals of the 2009 World Championships in Rome, posting a 2:20.12. She ultimately finished second to Nada Higl in the event.
At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi Pierse contracted dengue fever and struggled with health problems from that point on until the end of her career in 2012.
Pierse, who has considered teaching as a full time profession since her retirement, has always given back to the swimming community through working with young swimmers. She has realized the influence she had on young athletes and has always had a very strong message for them, one that she shared after her retirement ceremony in May, “It is cool because you realize what you did had such a big impact on all of these other people, a younger generation.”
“People look at the top swimmers and they think they have something amazingly special, but a lot of the time it is we just worked our butts off. So to be able to come here, have that retirement ceremony and than have people coming up to you and talking to you afterwards, you get to get your message out there and say you can be here, you can do what I did.”
“You get to get your message out there and say you can be here, you can do what I did.”
Sean Baker the Head Coach of the Oakville Aquatic Club is excited about what Pierse can bring to the program, “My hope is that she can use her experience to encourage & teach the next generation of OAK swimmers to pursue their dreams,” Baker told SwimSwam. “With now having three Olympians on staff, I think it builds our image and lends credibility to what we are trying to do.”
The Oakville Aquatic Club has been one of the most successful age group teams in the country over the last number of years winning the Canadian National Championships and finishing third at the National Age Group Championships this past summer.
Pierse will be coaching a group of 12 unders at the Iroquois Ridge pool twice a week where she will than pass them onto Nicholls and Coach Cathy Pardy who coach the top 12 and unders for the team.