Former National Team Coach Bennett Enters Circle of Excellence

by SwimSwam 7

December 22nd, 2018 Canada, International

Courtesy: Swimming Canada

In a career cut short by cancer, Randy Bennett coached Olympic, world championship and Commonwealth Games medalists. He also gained the respect of the swimmers he coached and the people he worked with.

For those reasons and more, Swimming Canada has inducted Bennett into its Circle of Excellence.

As head coach of Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centre – Victoria plus the coach/director of the Island Swimming club, Bennett shaped the careers of Olympic medalists Ryan Cochrane and Hilary Caldwell, and other swimmers such as Julia Wilkinson, Stephanie Horner and Alec Page.

Bennett was Canada’s national team head coach at the London 2012 Olympic Games, where Cochrane took the silver medal in the 1,500-metre freestyle. He was also head coach at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games and three FINA World Championships. He was Swimming Canada coach of the year seven consecutive years from 2008 to 2014.

He pushed his athletes in the pool to achieve the best results, but he also was honest in his expectations and appraisals.

“He expected nothing except the absolute best from each and every person he touched,” Cochrane said. “Coaching was his passion and his life. I know he had a profound impact on my life both in and out of the sport. I would not be the athlete or person I am today without him.”

Caldwell has a tattoo that reads “Make it So,” a phrase Bennett often used, evoking Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Once asked about his coaching philosophy Bennett talked about honesty and the importance of being a good communicator.

“Athletes want clear, concise communications,” he said. “That makes an athlete feel better than gaining an inflated or deflated sense of themselves. They know I will tell them the truth.”

Bennett was born on Nov. 11, 1963, in Red Lake, Ont. His family later moved to Fort Nelson, B.C., where Bennett worked as a lifeguard.

His first assistant coaching job was as an 18-year-old in Fort McMurray, Alta. He would go on to coach at the Keyano Swim Club in Edmonton, and spend nine seasons with the University of British Columbia Dolphins with Tom Johnson before taking over at Victoria’s Island Swimming in 2002.

Bennett died on April 27, 2015, of metastatic malignant melanoma at the age of 51.

“Coaching is truly a wonderful life,” Bennett said once in an interview. “Enjoy it. Very few people get to have a job as fun as ours. We’re pretty lucky and I think sometimes we lose sight of that.”

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3 years ago

I went to high school with Randy at FNSS in Fort Nelson (1978-81). He was a funny, kind-hearted kid before he made the “big time”. He was unassuming, could laugh at himself with his irreverent insight. This is well-deserved and a testament to his work ethic, upbringing, impact with the young people he coached, and who he was as a person. Swim Canada: you made the right choice.

3 years ago

Randy’s coaching position in Edmonton was with the Edmonton Keyano Swim Club not the Olympian Swim Club as listed.

Reply to  AlbertaSwimmer
3 years ago

Thanks. Updated above.

Math Magician
3 years ago

Dates listed or birth and death indicate he would have even 61, not 51

Reply to  Math Magician
3 years ago

You sure about that?

Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Are you? From the article, “Bennett was born on Nov. 11, 1953”

Reply to  RenéDescartes
3 years ago

Yeah…that’s wrong.