Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, the first Canadian university accepted into the NCAA, has hired Mandi Smith as their new assistant coach. She joins the staff of Liam Donnelly after a career most notable for success in the junior and Paralympic ranks.
Smith spent last year as a coach with the Pacific Sea Wolves after 8 years as the head coach of the Red Deer Catalina Swim Club in Alberta. In her final season with RDCSC, they were ranked as the 6th-best long course and 7th-best short course club in Alberta – with just about 100 swimmers, much smaller than many of the clubs ahead of them.
In 2014, Smith was named to Swimming Canada’s inaugural Select Coaches Group, a program aimed at “developing the country’s next great generation of great coaches.”
Her most famous swimmer at RDCSC was Rebecca Smith (no relation). Smith, who transferred to train under Ben Titley at the Scarborough Swim Club, finished 4th in the 200 free at April’s World Championship Trials at just 17 years old to qualify for the World Championships. She also represented Canada at the 2015 Australian Age Group Championships and at the 2015 FINA World Junior Championships.
While training under Mandi Smith, Rebecca Smith was named the 2016 Alberta Junior Female Athlete of the Year, and broke several national age group records.
Mandi Smith was also the coach of Tammy Cunningham, who was a late-bloomer in swimming. In 2015, just shy of her 40th birthday, she won 3 medals at the Parapan American Games and finished 7th in the 50 free at the IPC World Championships. She holds multiple Canadian and Americas Records.
The Simon Fraser women finished 23rd at last year’s NCAA Division II Championships with 38 points and the men’s team was 10th with 154 points.
“We are very excited to have an outstanding coach join our staff. Mandi is a proven professional who will bring a great combination of experience and energy. She is highly competitive and has a strong winning record” said Donnelly.
“SFU is a world-class university program and I look at this as an opportunity to work with high-level athletes,” said Smith.
Simon Fraser begins their 2017-2018 season on October 21st at the BC Senior Circuit I meet, with their first NCAA competition being against Seattle University in early November.