The rebalancing of Canada’s swimming power from west to east continued on Wednesday when Swimming Canada announced that Ryan Mallette will be joining the High Performance Center-Ontario staff as an associate head coach under head coach Ben Titley. Mallette was previously the head coach of the HPC – Victoria, and Swimming Canada is calling the move “reorganizing the talented coaching pool within its High Performance network.”
“I’m really excited to be joining Ben and the team at HPC-Ontario. It’s one of the premier programs in the world and I hope I can make it even a little better,” Mallette said. “It’s a great opportunity to go work with what has been the most successful program in Canada for the last few years.”
The HPC-Ontario group includes Penny Oleksiak, Taylor Ruck, Rebecca Smith, Kayla Sanchez and Kierra Smith, who all returned from the World Championships with relay medals, though the group didn’t win any individual medals in Gwangju.
Double world junior medalist Hanna Henderson is also part of the group, as are senior team veterans Yuri Kisil and Mack Darragh. Newcomers Josh Liendo and Finlay Knox will join the program after double world junior medal performances. Liendo was previously training with the North York Aquatic Club, while Knox trained with the Okotoks Mavericks Swim Club in Alberta.
“Ben’s group has been expanding, with eight or more swimmers in contention for the Olympic team. The quality of coaching and time required to support these athletes necessitated additional coaching support,” said High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson. “We have so much swimming talent in Ontario that we needed to redeploy our resources to provide our athletes with the coaching support they need leading up to the Olympic Games.”
Back-filling for Mallette in Victoria is Brad Dingey, who is already the lead coach of the Victoria NextGen program for rising young swimmers in the area. He will now become the head coach at HPC – Victoria and the NexGen program simultaneously.
Mallette began in Victoria as the NextGen coach in 2013 and took over the HPC – Victoria program when Randy Bennett died in 2014. There he was the coach of Ryan Cochrane when he won a medal at the 2015 World Championships and Hilary Caldwell when she won an Olympic bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games.
The HPC – Victoria group includes double world junior backstroke champion Jade Hannah, two-time world championship medallist Eric Hedlin, Pan Am Games medallists Danielle Hanus, Faith Knelson and Jeremy Bagshaw, and Pan Pacific Championships medallist Mackenzie Padington.
“It has been the best work experience of my life and we love the people here,” Mallette said. “It was an incredibly hard decision but part of what made my decision a little easier is knowing that Brad’s going to do an absolutely fabulous job.”