Swimming Canada continued the restructuring of its national High Performance Center program on Friday with the announcement of Brad Dingey as the new head coach of the HPC-Vancouver group.
Dingey is currently the head coach of the nearby HPC-Victoria program, which is closing this month. Swimming Canada will now invest in just 2 High Performance Centers, one in Vancouver and one in Toronto.
“As we are focusing our investment on two High Performance Centres – one in the eastern part of the country, and one in the west – we wanted to take this opportunity to strengthen the staff with another experienced Canadian coach in Brad Dingey,” said Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi.
Dingey took over the role at Victoria late last year after Ryan Mallette was moved to the Ontario HPC in Toronto.
Tom Johnson, the prior head coach of the HPC-Vancouver, will remain on staff there and continue to coach through the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which have been postponed until 2021.
Among those based out of the center in Vancouver are Olympic medalists Brent Hayden and Emily Overholt, as well as Commonwealth Games medallist Markus Thormeyer.
Hayden, holder of 12 Canadian Records, including the individual 50, 100, and 200 frees in long course, is on the comeback trail. He swam an Olympic “A” time in the 50 free earlier this year, shortly before quarantines kicked in that stopped racing, after 8 years of retirement.
The 22-year old Thormeyer is one of the country’s most promising male products. An undergrad at UBC and member of their varsity team, in 2018 he won a bronze medal in the 100 back at the Commonwealth Games. Since then, he has broken Canadian Records in both the 100 back (53.35) and 200 back (1:56.96) in long course, qualifying for the final of the 200 back at last year’s World Championships.
Overholt represented Canada at the 2016 Summer Olympics where she won a bronze medal as part of the country’s 800 free relay.
“I really appreciate the confidence Swimming Canada is showing in me and I’m looking forward to this opportunity,” Dingey said. “The HPC-Vancouver has accomplished some really good things over the years and it’s going to be a great opportunity to be part of that and lead it into the next stage.”
“Tom is a vastly knowledgeable coach with decades of experience who has built a strong program at the HPC-Van,” said High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson. “Brad will have the tremendous opportunity to work closely with Tom through the Tokyo Games while building plans towards Paris 2024, Los Angeles 2028 and beyond.”
“Succession planning is always important. This plan will allow me to continue working with our athletes to prepare for the Olympic Games, and focus on the role of Performance Coach,” Johnson said. “It’s an exciting opportunity to work with Brad and build towards the next stage of success at the centre together.”
Ben Keast will remain on staff as an assistant at the center, which is based out of the UBC campus.