THUNDER BAY -- “The regional camp was an amazing opportunity for our young and developing swimmers to work with other coaches and athletes from across the region,” said Casey Leslie, assistant coach for the Thunder Bay Thunderbolts.
This weekend’s camp was focused on developing the fundamental skills of swimming. Swim Ontario has created three stages of camps that follow the long-term development model for athletes. The end goal is to have a consistent model across the province striving for swimming excellence.
“This weekend was about building the foundations for the future of swimming in Ontario and Canada,” said Janet Hyslop, Head coach for the Kenora Swimming Sharks and lead coach for this camp. “Being from Northwestern Ontario shouldn’t be a limitation for our athletes. This camp was to serve as inspiration for young athletes so that they can achieve their goals and dreams,’ added Hyslop.
Eight Thunderbolt athletes, aged 10 to 12 years of age, and four junior coaches travelled to Kenora, Nov. 8 to 11 to work with four senior club coaches and 32 athletes from across Northwestern Ontario and Manitoba.
Rudy Balabuck, Scott Fay, Matthew Foulds, Fischer Jackson, Samatha Bergamo, Seija Erickson, Abby Gignac and Mackenzie Thompson were the Thunderbolt athletes selected to participate in this camp. The camp consisted of three water sessions, two classroom sessions and one dryland session. These sessions focused on stroke efficiency, technique, turns, starts and race strategy.
“As a coach it was great working with these young athletes and junior coaches,” said Thunderbolt assistant coach Jon Balabuck. “It is clear these athletes are keen and dedicated to this sport. “
“Participating junior coaches were Brooke Hulina, Zoe Hunt, Amy Knott and Emily Murphy. “This was a great opportunity to learn and work with other coaches and young athletes. It was an awesome experience,” said Murphy.
“It was amazing to be able to come back to the region and see it doing so well,” added Ian Grunewald, head coach of the St. James Seals, Winnipeg. As a swimmer growing up in Red Lake I wish I had these kinds of opportunities. I am so excited to see swimming growing in this way in the Northwest.”
These athletes are preparing for a series of swim meets in Thunder Bay and Toronto at the end of November and beginning of December. “Because of this camp I am excited to see our athletes excel, “ added Coach Leslie.