Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Monday Morning Quarterback On Canadian Swimming Trials 2014

This season, Trials were a very different experience for me. In the past, I have been a Head Coach managing everything. This season, I was in a supporting role. The pressure was much less than it typically would be and I was able to enjoy the races and become much more analytical and critical. Thus - here are my armchair observations on Canadian Swimming Trials 2014. And full disclosure: I am still impressed at how well the NCAA athletes swam.

First, lets look at the Team List provided by SNC:

Pan Pacific Championships team: 

Swimmer                            Club/Personal Coach 
Brittany MacLean               Etobicoke (Ont.) Swim Club 
Samantha Cheverton           Pointe-Claire (Montreal) Swim Club 
Alyson Ackman                  Pointe-Claire (Montreal) Swim Club 
Emily Overholt                   West Vancouver Otters/Janusz Kaczmarek 
Dominique Bouchard          Oakville (Ont.) Aquatic Club 
Brooklynn Snodgrass          Cascade (Calgary) Swim Club 
Hilary Caldwell                    Pacific Sea Wolves/HPC-Victoria/Randy Bennett 
Russell Wood                       Cascade (Calgary) Swim Club/Mike Blondal 
Tera Van Beilen                    UBC Dolphins/HPC-Vancouver/Jozsef Nagy 
Kierra Smith                         Liquid Lightning (West Kelowna, B.C.) Swim Club 
Martha McCabe                    Toronto Swim Club/HPC-Ontario/Ben Titley 
Victoria Poon                        PPO (Montreal)/Benoit Lebrun 
Michelle Williams                 North York (Ont.) Aquatic Club 
Sandrine Mainville                PPO (Montreal)/Benoit Lebrun 
Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson    Greater Ottawa Kingfish/HPC-Vancouver/Tom Johnson 
Alec Page                               Island Swimming/HPC-Victoria/Randy Bennett 
Luke Reilly                            UBC Dolphins/HPC-Vancouver/Tom Johnson 
Tabitha Baumann                   Edmonton Keyano Swim Club/Derrick Schoof 
Ryan Cochrane                       Island Swimming/HPC-Victoria/Randy Bennett 
Genevieve Cantin                   Laval (Que.) Rouge et Or/Nicolas Perron 
Katerine Savard                      CAMO (Montreal)/Claude St-Jean 
Audrey Lacroix                      PPO (Montreal)/Benoit Lebrun 
Marni Oldershaw                   Oakville (Ont.) Aquatic Club 
Sydney Pickrem                     Neptune St-Jerome (Que.) 
Evan White                            Oakville (Ont.) Aquatic Club /Sean Baker 
Coleman Allen                       UBC Dolphins/HPC-Vancouver/Tom Johnson 
Gamal Assaad                        Oakville (Ont.) Aquatic Club /Paul Midgley 
Will Brothers                         Island Swimming/HPC-Victoria/Randy Bennett 
Richard Funk                         Edmonton Keyano Swim Club 
Yuri Kisil                               Cascade (Calgary) Swim Club/Dave Johnson 
Joe Byram                             U Alberta/Bill Humby 
Mack Darragh                       Oakville (Ont.) Aquatic Club 
Lyam Dias                             Pointe-Claire (Montreal) Swim Club 
Luke Peddie                          UBC Dolphins/HPC-Vancouver/Tom Johnson 
Kyle Troskot                          Lethbridge (Alta.) Swim Club 
Chantal Van Landeghem       MANTA (Winnipeg)/HPC-Ontario 


Of the above swimmers (I will use the total numbers on the Pan Pac Team because it is the Commonwealth Team + more), here is the breakdown:

Active CIS Athletes:  12 
Active NCAA Athletes:  12 (including Sinead Russell - only on Commonwealth Team)
High School/Post University Athletes Training In Canada: 10
High School/Post University Athletes Training outside Canada: 2
Centre Athletes: 10 (some athletes represent a centre and a university) 

From the above, we can see that the CIS and the NCAA are equalized in having people make the National Team at 12/piece. Would the CIS be more successful if athletes chose to stay in Canada rather than heading to the CIS? Not so sure. Gold Medal winning CIS athletes such as Zack Chetrat, Savannah King, Kelly Aspinal and Chris Manning did NOT make the team. 

Can we assume that the NCAA coaches made the most of a quick double peak taper?  Perhaps... But here is another stat: NCAA athletes that made the team are 8 female and 4 male... that means that the women's programs account for 67% of the NCAA's contributions to the National Team. Does the extra week between NCAAs and Trials help? Was that 1 week less detrimental to the men? 

A stat I do not have is how many Canadian NCAA swimmers competed in the meet and what the improvement rate (time dropped) was compared to Canadian CIS swimmers improvement rate was. Using only the swimmers that competed in the NCAA is not an accurate stat; because it is a skewed stat - making the top 30 in the NCAA puts you at the top of the field anyway. I am interested in who got better results - the NCAA or the CIS. It would make for a very interesting talking point in the ongoing debate about where athletes go to school.

Another observation is with the mock scoring that I did - there were many BC programs that stepped up and performed well. CHENA is a good example of this; although they finished outside of the top 10, they still managed a 12th place finish which is very impressive for their size and diverse number of young athletes. 

Cascade also had a large number of athletes making a team and are not affiliated with a Centre or University. Congrats to Dave and Wendy!


Brittany MacLean broke the 800FR Canadian Record and won the 200, 400 & 800 Freestyle. That is quite impressive considering that she was riding almost a 4 week taper!


Ken Fitzpatrick & Paul Midgley at Western University did a very impressive job with Gamal Assaad! Dropped about 1.5 seconds in the 100FLY and made the team. Great job converting a Junior National Team athlete to a Senior National Team athlete!


Martha McCabe... wow! Great heart, racing while still not 100% healed on her clavical. Some people do not understand how difficult a race quality turn can be when you cannot press your weight into the wall due to an injury. Martha had to make up for that in the water. What a great job she and coach Ben Titley did!

Randy Bennett told me last summer that Trials are the same weekend from now until 2020 and that knowing that should help anyone prepare. So how do we prepare better for Pan Am trials next season and Olympic Trials in 2016?


One of my former coaches, Dean Boles, has always said that examining why swimmers did not perform optimally is easy; the hard question (and the one not always accurately examined) is "why did they swim well". The question that I wish I had an answer to was: Why did the swimmers that swam so well swim so well...? Because when I asked them, they weren't sure. I am hoping to get some of those coaches on my podcast in the near future to examine some of the performances... it is my hope that we can all learn from the answers to that question.

Updated info: According to an email from SNC, there are currently 21 full time HPC (High Performance Centre) athletes in Canada. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

What If Canadian Swim Trials Were Being Scored? Part 4: FINAL SCORE


Since Canadian Swimming Trials are not being officially scored this year, I have decided to score them myself. Please note that these scores are unofficial and are NOT being compiled by anyone important, just me. I am just running a mock scoring to see where things line up.  I used the scoring from last year's trials and am doing a daily tally of the scores. I think it would be interesting to see which teams are the top in the country, much the same as last season. Final Results are below. Congrats to UBC on earning top spot as well as Oakville, Pointe Claire & Edmonton for keeping it interesting right down to the last event (as usual). Great contest, I'm glad that I kept score - hopefully some of you are too!

  FINAL SCORE
1  - UBCD 351
2  - OAK 331.5
3  - EKSC 316
4  - PCSC 309
5  - ISC 292.5
6 -  CASC 216
7 - UNAT 205
8  - ESWIM 187.5
9 -  PPO 161
10- TSC 160

You can view my work here. Feel free to report any errors to me: mikethompson17@hotmail.com Congrats to all clubs, swimmers & coaches who made the Commonwealth Games, Junior Pan Pacs, Pan Pacs & Junior Olympics! Great meet, lets do this again: same time next year!

Friday, April 4, 2014

What If Canadian Swimming Trials Were Scored...? Day 3 results

Since Canadian Swimming Trials are not being officially scored this year, I have decided to score them myself. Please note that these scores are unofficial and are NOT being compiled by anyone important, just me. I am just running a mock scoring to see where things line up.  I used the scoring from last year's trials and am doing a daily tally of the scores. I think it would be interesting to see which teams are the top in the country, much the same as last season. Results from Day 3 are below. UBC, OAK and PCSC are certainly keeping it interesting in a tight (hypothetical) race!

TOTAL SCORE  
  NEW TOTAL
1 - UBCD 279
2 - OAK 271.5
3 - PCSC 269
4 - EKSC 246
5 - ISC 196
6 - CASC 180
7 - UNAT 164
8 - UCSC 145
9 - ESWIM 140.5
10  -CHENA 101


You can view my work here. Feel free to report any errors to me:mikethompson17@hotmail.com (Thank you, Simon from GO for alerting me of an error in 400IM scoring). Stay tuned throughout the week to check in on the scores. 

You can view live results for the trials here
You can view live stream of finals here (6pm pacific time start Wed-Sat).

What If Canadian Trials Were Scored - Day 2 Results

Since Canadian Swimming Trials are not being officially scored this year, I have decided to score them myself. Please note that these scores are unofficial and are NOT being compiled by anyone important, just me. I am just running a mock scoring to see where things line up.  I used the scoring from last year's trials and am doing a daily tally of the scores. I think it would be interesting to see which teams are the top in the country, much the same as last season. Results from Day 2 are below...



TOTAL SCORE  
  TOTAL DAY 2
1 - OAK 199.5
2 -  UBCD 193
3 - PCSC 180
4 - EKSC 137
5 -  CASC 122
6  - UNAT 111
7 -  ISC 102
8 -  ESWIM 96.5
9 -  CHENA 93
10 -  UCSC 83


You can view my work here. Feel free to report any errors to me:mikethompson17@hotmail.com. Stay tuned throughout the week to check in on the scores. 

You can view live results for the trials here
You can view live stream of finals here (6pm pacific time start Wed-Sat).

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What If Canadian Swimming Trials Were Being Scored...?

Since Canadian Swimming Trials are not being officially scored this year, I have decided to score them myself. Please note that these scores are unofficial and are NOT being compiled by anyone important, just me. I am just running a mock scoring to see where things line up.  I used the scoring from last year's trials and am doing a daily tally of the scores. I think it would be interesting to see which teams are the top in the country, much the same as last season.

Day 1 - Top 10:

  1. OAK (133)
  2. EKSC (101)
  3. UBCD (92)
  4. PCSC (87)
  5. ISLAND (69)
  6. ESWIM (62.5)
  7. PPO (58)
  8. UNATTACHED  (49)
  9. CASC (43)
  10. LASC (43)
  11. UCSC (42)
You can view my work here. Feel free to report any errors to me: mikethompson17@hotmail.com. Stay tuned throughout the week to check in on the scores. 

You can view live results for the trials here
You can view live stream of finals here (6pm pacific time start Wed-Sat).

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Change Is Coming For High School Swimmers

2 Things happened in Canadian swimming this week that made me tremendously happy. First, Swim Ontario decided not to sanction the OFSAA (Ontario High School) Championships; after years of silly rules which I have publicly stated have been passively hurting our sport for years. Without restating my entire philosophy on the topic, I am happy that Swim Ontario has recognized that OFSAA's rules are not consistent with Swim Ontario's swimming policies and will no longer sanction the meet. I also like that Swim Ontario has stated in their announcement that "OFSAA and Swim Ontario will continue to engage in partnership discussion for future years," which implies that Swim Ontario is open to re-sanctioning, but that swimming in Ontario must be done in a way that is consistent with Swim Ontario's (the governing body in this sport) vision and that this decision is not an end point. Imagine how great swimming in Ontario could get if there was a bridge between High School and University!? If you want to read more on this topic, feel free to check out my post from a couple of years ago.

The second thing that happened was an announced partnership between VAS (Victoria Academy of Sport - Lead by Randy Bennett) and area high schools. This partnership entails athletes academic schedules being run around their swim schedules and provides for transportation and meals. Although this is not a revolutionary idea (many programs like this already exist in the USA and other countries), this is revolutionary for Canada because it now treats swimmers as serious athletes.

Historically, swimmers have been pegged as great students that have been able to manage many hours of training and work load and this has been accepted as fact without really examining if they would be doing better if they DIDN'T have such a high workload... which is akin to saying "Prisoners in this prison are really tough and don't mind eating dead rats... They must LOVE prison and dead rats." Just because athletes seem to be able to "handle it" doesn't mean that they wouldn't perform better or be happier if life were easier and catered to them. And honestly, if we are looking for those world class, top 3 performances, this is a great place to start! Kudos to Randy and to VAS for considering this a priority and getting it off the ground!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top OAK Age Group Times of All Time

Explanation of Data: This is a listing of the Oakville Aquatic Club's top performances of all time, broken down by age group. The intention of this report is to measure depth of the club.

A Few Notes:

  • Someone's name can only appear once in the listings (ie: Evan White's name cannot appear 5 times in the top 5 times in any event, only once).
  • Only times that were swam while an athlete was representing OAK will appear (recent transfers will not appear in these lists until the times done were while representing OAK).
  • This info is pulled from the SNC database and can only be as accurate as the database is (ie: times posted in 1971 probably do not exist in the database), but is accurate enough for depth measuring purposes.
  • Where do you stand? I challenge you to make the top 10 in 3 events before your career is over. Already have 3? See how many you can rack up and how high you can be. Competition is what makes this sport great!
  • The Oakville Aquatic Club has a lot of FAST performances in club history and a lot of very big names in the listings. In many cases, a few of these names dominate the top 5 and/or are very current times; suggesting that the Oakville Aquatic Club is the deepest it has ever been and is getting even better. Be proud of your heritage and what you are a part of!
  • If anyone spots any broken links or bugs, please email me (mikethompson17@hotmail.com) and I will fix it right away. A lot of work went into this - I want to make sure it operates properly. 

Boys 11-12

Girls 11-12

Boys 13-14

Girls 13-14

Boys 15-17

Girls 15-17

Men Open

Women Open