Rebecca Smith off to the FINA World Swimming Championships

Val CarrNews, Swim Alberta News

Rebecca Smith swims with University of Calgary Swim Club and University of Calgary Varsity Swim Club under coach Mike Blondal. Dave Johnson is a selected coach from Cascade Swim Club.

Some newcomers to the Canadian coaching staff join a strong team of returning Olympians as Canada prepares to compete at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m).

Nine women and three men, all of whom represented Canada at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, will compete in the six-day world short-course championships at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. Action begins Thursday, with finals at 9 a.m. ET each day on CBC digital platforms (, CBC Sports App and CBC GEM).

Maggie Mac Neil and Kylie Masse, both triple medallists in Tokyo, headline a team that also includes medallists Sydney Pickrem, Kayla Sanchez and Rebecca Smith and Rio 2016 medallist Katerine Savard. High Performance Centre – Ontario swimmers Masse, Pickrem and Sanchez, and Savard of Montreal’s CAMO club, are coming off impressive seasons in the International Swimming League, while Smith was a standout at the Canada West championships, helping University of Calgary to its first title in nine years in her first year on the team. Olympic and world 100-m butterfly champion Mac Neil, meanwhile, continues to tear up NCAA competition at the University of Michigan.

“It’s great to have the national team come together to close out 2021. We are looking forward to some fast racing in Abu Dhabi on the back end of an Olympic year that was very successful for the team,” said High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson, the team leader. “We want to take advantage of this experience and race fast to spring forward into our Trials in April 2022 and on into the long-course worlds in May and Commonwealth Games in July and August.”

The pool team welcomes two new faces on the coaching staff: Greg Arkhurst of CAMO, and Zoe Miles of Nova Scotia’s Sackville Waves Aquatic Team.

“I’m looking forward to exciting races and exciting collaboration between coaches on the team,” said Arkhurst, who took over as head coach at CAMO earlier this year, succeeding veteran Claude St-Jean, who remains with the club. “I want to keep learning and growing.”

Swimming Canada Senior Coach, Olympic Program, Martyn Wilby reprises his role as pool head coach. Olympic coaches Ben Titley of HPC-Ontario and Dave Johnson of Calgary’s Cascade Swim Club round out the coaching staff alongside Arkhurst, with Miles serving as assistant coach on her first national team. Associate High Performance Director Iain McDonald is assistant team leader and Janice Hanan is team manager.

Meanwhile, three men and one woman will take part in the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series, including Hau-Li Fan, who made an impressive Olympic debut with an impressive 9th-place finish in the 10-km open water race in Tokyo. The men’s 10-km is set for 11 p.m. ET Wednesday, with the women to follow at 2 a.m. Thursday.

Swimming Canada Distance/Open Water Coach Mark Perry is the Open Water Head Coach, joined by Martin Gingras of Pointe-Claire Swim Club, and Assistant Coach Savannah King. The two-time Olympic swimmer and McGill University coach is making her Swimming Canada coaching debut at age 29.

“We have a strong coaching staff with both experience and first-time senior coaches as well,” Atkinson said. “This underlines the emphasis that we have on getting coaches experience that they can take forward in their careers and in their home programs.”

Full team lists are available here:


Original Story from Swimming Canada: