Canadian Olympian Nadine Rolland Joins HPC – Quebec As Assistant Coach

by SwimSwam 0

May 31st, 2023 Canada, News

Courtesy: Swimming Canada

Most people wouldn’t look at being quarantined alone over Christmas in another country as a positive.

Nadine Rolland used the time to put herself on a path to be named the new Assistant Coach at the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Quebec.

The Sydney 2000 Olympian has been head coach at Club Sportif Les Loutres since retiring from competitive swimming in 2005. She got her first taste of the HPC – Quebec when she was chosen for Swimming Canada’s Para Swimming CanAm Female Coach Development Program. The opportunity included a full scholarship to attend the CanAm International Swim Meet in Greensboro, N.C., in Dec. 2021.

“I dove into that Para swimming world more intensely and learned more about the international level. When I saw the athletes at the CanAms, I was like, ‘Wow they’re professional.’ They’re amazing athletes, and the centre in Montreal is well organized and doing an amazing job,” Rolland says.


Rolland’s initial enthusiasm hit a speed bump, however, when she tested positive for COVID-19 during the meet and was told she needed to quarantine alone in a hotel over Christmas. Rather than despair, she used the time to her advantage.

“It was actually a great experience because overall it gave me time. I’m a mom with three kids running a club. I don’t usually have time for myself, so I took the time to better myself as a coach,” she says. “I was immersed in the Para swimming world. (Para Swimming Performance Pathway Coach & National Classification Lead) Janet Dunn and (Manager, Pathway Systems and Classification) Mike Edey were super generous and gave me rules and regulations, information about classification, over 100 pages. I sat down and read.”

Armed with the additional Para swimming knowledge, she returned to her club, which she runs with her husband Fred Asselin, a former national team rugby player who will take over as head coach upon her departure. They worked to improve the accessibility and inclusivity of the club and now have four Para swimmers. When the opportunity came to work with top Canadian Para swimmers full time, she was eager to apply and ready to take on the role.

“It’s a new professional challenge but a great opportunity working with Swimming Canada at this time,” she says. “I think I can be added value for the centre in Montreal because of my 40 years experience in swimming, 20 years in coaching, and seven years with Para swimming athletes.”

Rolland said the move would not be possible without the support of her family. She and Asselin started their club after a six-month stint studying under Gary Hall Sr. and Jr. at The Race Club in Islamorada, Fla. Her coaching experience also includes head coach roles for Richelieu-Yamaska at the Jeux du Québec since 2014, and for Team Quebec at last year’s Ken Demchuk International Invitational in Vancouver.

Rolland, who still competes as a Masters swimmer, describes herself as detail-oriented: a “fine tactician.” She says she’s excited to work with Head Coach Jean-Michel Lavallière and the feeling is mutual.

“I am looking forward to sharing the pool deck with her,” said the 2016 Paralympian. “One of Nadine’s greatest strengths is her ability to connect with people, coaches and athletes. Her love of swimming is contagious, and she is exactly who we needed to help develop a strong group of NextGen athletes preparing for the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games and beyond.”

“It certainly is a new era at the High Performance Centre – Quebec. Together Jean-Michel and Nadine are embarking on a transformative journey,” added Mike Thompson, the former head coach and now senior team coach and national team performance manager, Paralympic Program. “I look forward to supporting them as they work to lift Para swimming to unprecedented heights within the heart of Québec.”

The position, which will focus on developing NextGen swimmers, is funded in partnership with the Fédération de natation du Québec, Canadian Paralympic Committee and Own the Podium.

“Nadine is a passionate and committed coach, who will bring to the HPC-Q a great dynamic, ideas, and a willingness to be close to the field,” said FNQ Technical Director Nicolas Zazzeri. “I am confident that her energy will be contagious and beneficial to the entire Canadian Para swimming community. The NextGen program is in good hands!”

“I’m really proud to come at a point where swimming in Canada has achieved so much. When I see the professionalism in everybody in Swimming Canada, that part really excited me,” Rolland added. The performance of Canada in general in swimming, and in Para swimming, I think we have all the right tools to make those kids have success and be good humans.”

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