There’s lots of post-Olympic excitement happening in Canada, including the announcement of a new Board of Directors, including one former National Team swimmer, the announcement of their Big Splash Award nominees, and an addition to their Montreal National Training Centre staff.
First, the new appointments. Cheryl Gibson and Kerry Mummery were added to the organization’s Board of Directors. Gibson is a chartered accountant and a lawyer by trade, but in a prior life was a member of the Canadian National Team from 1974 through 1982. Her highest achievement was at the 1976 Olympics, where in front of a home crowd in Montreal, she won a silver medal in the women’s 400 IM.
Mummery doesn’t have quite as many accolades in the pool (though he did swim collegiately at the University of Manitoba), but has an extensive background in coaching and sports science. Among the more recognizable clubs for which he coached is the Oakville Aquatic Club, and currently serves as the Dean of the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta. Prior to that he spent time in Australia and served as the President-elect at Sports Medicine Australia.
Meanwhile, joining the staff at the Montreal National Training Centre as an assistant is Tom Rushton. Rushton comes from the UBC Dolphins Swim Club that is one of the best in Canada. That club is home to, among others, Olympians Brent Hayden, Scott Dickens, Tera van Beilen, Martha McCabe, Heather Maclean, and Savannah King. Between this hiring, and that of Ben Titley to take over the Toronto site, is that Swimming Canada is going to make an effort to push athletes toward these funded National Training Centers in the next Olympic cycle.
Rushton is one of the nominees for this year’s Big Splash Awards in the Club Coach of the Year category. The Big Splash awards are Canada’s major annual awards ceremony: the equivalent of the Golden Goggles Awards.
The entire awards show will be livecast on Swimming Canada’s live internet channel www.swimcanweb.tv.
The two major honors go to the Male and Female Swimmers of the Year. The two awards are challenging for different reasons: on the men’s side, because both won Olympic medals (Hayden a bronze in the 100 free and Cochrane silver in the 1500). Our choice probably goes to Cochrane on the fact that his swim is a new North American Record, and he was runner-up only to possibly the greatest distance swimmer in history Sun Yang. Strangely, open water bronze medalist Richard Weinberger didn’t get a nomination in the overall category, but instead is the only nominee in the open water category.
On the women’s side, the choice is tough because none of the three won medals. They are, however, the only three Canadian women to make an Olympic final. Though McCabe’s 200 breaststroke finish of 5th was closest to landing a podium, our vote goes to Brittany MacLean. She took the 400 free National Record from an average 4:07 to a very good 4:05.06 between the Olympic Trials and the Olympic prelims.