Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Provincials Day Zero

Hello everyone. Writing from Ottawa, ON. Cold, rainy and not far from the Queen of England, apparently.

All 10 of our athletes are here; Matt Fox, Tessa Cieplucha, Bjoern-Ole Schrader, Keri-Lyn Copeland, Emma Fender, Veronica Fong, Kyle Haas, Mitchell Krafczek, Aaron Braugtigam and Karl Massey. I would like to remind everyone that this is the largest group that HHBF has ever sent to the Ontario Provincial Championships.

We had a small warm up today in an over packed pool, but we honestly looked fantastic! I am very excited about this. We have a lot of opportunities to be great this weekend. Please stay tuned for more details. I am switching hotels tomorrow morning (to save HHBF some money) so I am not sure what my internet connectivity will be like. I will do my best to connect and keep people posted when I get back from finals around 9 or 10pm.

Just got back from a team diner. Everyone seems pretty excited and focused. I cannot wait for tomorrow. Our athletes are going to make HHBF very proud and hopefully make some history in the process.

Until tomorrow....

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Culmination of Preparation

In May I was notified of the 1st annual Stratten and Bond meet being held @ McMaster University by the Greater Horseshoe Aquatic Club. It is a meet for those not going to provincials, yet over qualified for central region team champs (and in our case, the 15 and overs that were too old for Halton Cup). I really wanted to use this meet as a good way for those athletes to end the season and for those who don't usually qualify for finals to end their season with that opportunity. HHBF faired quite well at Stratten and Bond this weekend. I think every individual over the age of 13 qualified for a final. Amongst those who were able to make it back for finals were Kelly and Ryan Smith, Tatyana Austrie, Erin Troughton and Arielle Sabourin. Well done coming back and finishing your season strong, guys. In the years to come, the goal is that everyone going to a meet is prepared, if required, to swim again at finals. In in turn, we will start making more finals. We must be prepared to compete and be our bests at every opportunity: thats what a competitive team does. Unfortunately, this year the meet happened to coincide with exams, family summer plans, etc. We will continue to go in the future and it will likely become a fixture on our meet schedule. I think it is a great way to finish a long season.

T-minus 5 days until the start of Ontario Junior Provincials in Napean, ON. We have our largest team in HHBF history traveling to compete (not just to participate) against the best Ontario has to offer. Please stay tuned to my blog for details.

Great news for HHBF, MATT FOX made it onto the Ontario Summer Games team and will be joining Mitchell Krafczek and Karl Massey and myself to Sudbury, ON this summer. This is pretty impressive, not only because this is the first time that HHBF has had people on the team... not because I will be the Head Coach of this team and 3 of our athletes will be going (and another 3 declined)... but because Matt is 12 and has been chosen to compete in the 14 and under category.... and he's only 12. Did I mention that he's only 12?

If I don't see you again this season (my schedule has been busy to say the least and I have been away from the pool for various reasons lately), PLEASE have a safe and happy/relaxing/exciting/fun summer! I hope to see you all again in September. As always, I can be reached in the regular ways if you need me. Don't be afraid to contact me at any time.

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Sunday, June 20, 2010

French World Cup Team Implodes...

How does something like this happen...??

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day tomorrow to all HHBF fathers! Every one of you who has gotten up early to get your kids to the pool, driven hours to a meet, waited in line to get equipment and worked hard to pay the swim fees, your children appreciate you. I appreciate you too. Have a wonderful day!

Lots going on today. I started my day at 7am with a workout for the people going to provincials. We largely worked on recovery from a very tough workout last night, but did do 2 fast 100s from a dive which yielded very impressive results. These individuals are all VERY focused on their goals in 2 weeks at Provincials in Ottawa. Our motto for that meet is "We've Got A Job To Do". That job...? Aside from representing HHBF as a strong, respectable club, we are also there to compete... not just to participate. All of these competitors know what they need to do in each event they swim. This is quite probably the strongest team that HHBF has ever sent to a Provincial Championship. Stay tuned to my blog for day by day results. I will be posting them from July 1st - July 4th around 9pm (July 4th I will be traveling home... will likely be posted on the 5th).

I then stopped by Milton to check in at the second session of Halton Cup. I saw several good swims in the 40min I was at the pool, but I must say that I was a little disappointed with the turn out at our club's championship meet. I understand that individuals may have things to do on their weekends late in the season, but we need EVERYONE if we wish to win the Halton Cup. We honestly should have won that meet, but we were out numbered about 2:1. We really team mates to understand that we need a true team effort to win a dual meet. I get the feeling that we wouldn't have had as many no shows if it were a hockey or soccer game. I am hoping that we can come back revived and willing to compete against Milton next season.

I then stopped by to catch the last few events in Etobicoke at Central Region Team Championships. We had some decent races through the day including a great gold medal winning relay which featured Nick Levesque, Taylr Cawte, Alicia Lubja and Ryan Smith. HHBF currently sit at 11th place out of 17 teams, but once again suffered from a few no shows and 1 dropped relay as a result. CRTC is a good opportunity for people to race in Etobicoke one last time before the end of the year. It looks like our participants are making the most of that opportunity.

I finished the morning in the Etobicoke Coaches Lounge where I ran a meeting regarding exciting new changes for the GTA series of meets. I do not want to reveal too many details, but in short; we will not be driving 2 hours anymore to attend GTA meets. I'm sure many parents will be very happy about that! That is my Fathers Day gift to all you HHBF dads.

"Enjoy swimming for swimmings sake. We have to spend far too much time in the water to not enjoy the process challenging yourself of moving through the water".
~Jeff Rouse - Multiple Olympic Gold Medalist and World Record Setter in 100BK

Have a great weekend! Stay Tuned.

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Year End Party

This year has flown by so fast! Where does the time go.

Thank you so much to Donna, Shellie, Mary and everyone else who put that party together. Really well done and I had a great time watching everyone else have so much fun. A special thank you also to Paul for MC-ing.

When I joined the team 5 seasons ago, we had around 40-50 swimmers and the award winners were easy to select. Now, with over 200 HHBF swimmers, its SO hard! Thats why in October 2010 we will be having our first annual awards banquette where we will celebrate the particular achievements of our athletes from the previous season (Central Region qualifiers, Medalists, Provincial Qualifiers, Medalists, National qualifiers, Medalists). We have had so much success at these levels, it becomes really difficult to recognize all the people that deserve it without making the evening 4 hours long. We also do not have enough awards in our current system to recognize everyone. I feel that these achievements need to be recognized and appreciated AND announced to the rest of the team in order to inspire the others to do the same.

Lots of changes for next season and lots more success to come. I can't wait!

Please wish our Blue Fins luck for Provincials and Nationals. We have a lot of time left in this season and a lot of work to do. I would also like to take this opportunity to announce that Karl Massey and Mitchell Krafczek have officially been selected to join me in Sudbury on the Ontario Summer Games Team (representing Central Region). Please congratulate them when you see them. This is a HUGE deal for HHBF and we should all be proud that they are representing HHBF on this team. Elizabeth Skuriat was also selected for this team but declined due to her injury. We will miss her A LOT this summer!

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Monday, June 14, 2010

University of Waterloo Suspends Football Team For Steroid Use

I am very disapointed to read this story in today's news...

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Busy Busy Busy

Sorry, folks. I have been very busy the last few days. Central Regions this weekend and I promise to keep everyone updated on this blog AND will be sure to keep everyone posted on Central Region's decision on the Milton Titans AND will give more info on Ontario Summer Games as soon as more details become available.

Next post will be tomorrow...

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Sunday, June 6, 2010

AGI - Day 4

Good day. I'm exhausted (3rd 13 hour day in a row) so I'm going to keep these results quick...

HHBF finished 18th overall this weekend, which is pretty impressive and (as far as I can tell) the best HHBF has ever finished at AGI.

We had 3 people in finals tonight and had an alternate. Karl Massey had a great morning with a PB in 100bk and came 6th. Kyle Haas made finals in 100FR, 100BK and 400FR, and Trevor Burwell made the final in 400FR.

In the afternoon, Tessa and Keri Lyn both had outstanding 400FRs. Bjoern-Ole Schrader had great 100BK and 100FR swims. Matt Fox graced us with his presence and placed 3rd in 100BK as well as highly in 100FR. Both 11-12 boys and girls had relays that placed in the top 8.

Tonight, Kyle Haas completed races 17, 18 and 19 for the weekend (I forgot that he only swims 400FR once). Best time in 100BK, equal in 100FR and a good effort on race #19, 400FR. Karl's 100BK was slightly slower than this morning, but not by much. He ended up in 8th place.

I'm pretty happy with how the weekend went. There were other clubs that were there to perform, but HHBF was there to be tough and to swim through adversity. I think we all did a great job with that, especially Kyle!

Next up is Central Regions. Congrats to Ryan Smith, Clancy Harris, Sam Ceci and Kaitlyn Daley who will be swimming at Central Regions after Saturday's Time Trial or will be swimming more events. A special congrats to Aaron Brautigam who obtained his provincial prerequisite standards and will be joining us in Ottawa.

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Saturday, June 5, 2010

AGI - Day 3 and something to think about

We had a decent day today. Started out very well with Karl Massey bettering his 200BK time from last weekend and making the A final... pretty short morning.

The afternoon started out well. Nolan Haas and Quinn Jagard both took off a few hundredths of a second. Mitchell Krafczek also had a best time. Kyle Haas swim to a solid first placing for finals at night. He also gained a second place start in finals for 200BK (also a best time of 2:16.28).

Bjoern-Ole Scrader had a remarkable 200BK, bettering his short course time (in a long course pool) by about 3 seconds and an 8th place finish. Not bad for only being in that age group for 34days. He also had a best time in 100Fly. That was followed shortly by an amazing 50BR by Emma Fender.

Tessa and Keri-Lyn both had fantastic 400IMs!! The girls 11-12 relay was pretty solid. It was a good indication of what to expect at provincials and gave us some cues on what to work on until then. Veronica Fong had an excellent lead leg on the relay and only missed the provincial cut in 100FR by .44seconds.

At finals, Kyle won 50FR with a time of 25.93, came second in 200BK slightly slower than this morning and came 10th in 100FLY in a time of 1:04. Karl added about half a second in his 200BK but split it better than this morning. Still a great race. He finished 7th overall.

I am resaonably happy with the weekend this far and I am looking forward to the final day tomorrow (I've been at the Etobicoke pool for a total of 31 hours so far since Thursday and likely have another 13 hours tomorrow).

R.I.P. John Wooden 1910-2010

Great Coach John Wooden passed away yesterday at age 99. Those of you who are not familiar with him, I suggest you look over his life...

We've lost a great coach. I wish to share some of Coach Wooden's great quotes with you. The life lessons taught by John Wooden have become legend. Here's a collection of some of the greatest "Woodenisms" (courtesy of

"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out."

"Never mistake activity for achievement."

"Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then."

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."

"Be prepared and be honest."

"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."

"What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player."

"Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character."

"A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment."

"I'd rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent."

"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"

"If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes."

"It isn't what you do, but how you do it."

"Ability is a poor man's wealth."

"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."

"Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights."

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."

"Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability."

"It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it."

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."

"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen."

"Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful."

"The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team."

"Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."

"Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts."

Friday, June 4, 2010

AGI - Day 2

A little flatter today than yesterday... reason is everyone who swam last night got home too late... also not everyone in the meet yet. Tomorrow should be more successful.

Great swim from Bjoern-Ole Schrader who equaled his short course time in 200IM with an EXCELLENT final 50. Kyle Haas also made finals for all 4 of his races (ended up with 8 races in just under 4 hours). He finished 2nd in 50BK and 3rd in 200IM both in good time. Aaron Brautigam, still trying to perfect a new BR stroke continued to lower his time to 1:18 which is good progress.... unfortunately missed finals by a couple of tenths of a second.

My goal this weekend was for Keri-Lyn Copeland to get a provincial qualification, for the team to obtain at least 3 more age group champs times, to have more than 2 people at finals every night (oops) and for Kyle Haas to swim at least 20 races in 3 days (we're done 8 with 2 more days to go). I think that we're on good pace so far.

A special thank you for to the Ironside family who came down to support HHBF at finals. A SUPER special thank you to Rachel Ironside (8 years old) who helped me coach Kyle's 200IM and helped me count his strokes on his last 50. Much appreciated Rachel! I couldn't have done it without you!

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 1 - AGI in Etobicoke

Great start to a long weekend in Etobicoke as 3 Blue Fins squared off against their counterparts from all over Ontario. First heat we got to see HHBF friend and 2008 Olympic Team member Lindsay Seemann of Newmarket win 800FR very easily.

Mitchell Krafczek was up first in 1500FR. We spent time developing a very detailed pacing plan before hand and Mitchell did a fantastic job sticking to it! New HHBF club record for Mitchell AND Age Group Champs qualifier time of 18:46.12 Best time of 16 seconds for Mitchell which is an average of 2 seconds / 100 faster. Really pleased with this race AND looking forward to his 800 next weekend at Central Regions.

Keri-Lyn Copeland and Tessa Cieplucha were next (in the same heat) in the 800FR. Both were quick out the gate with a 100 split of 1:14. Keri-Lyn was only slightly ahead by .42 seconds at that point. Keri-Lyn built a pretty solid lead after 400m, bettering her best long course time for 400FR at the split. Tessa had a fantastic second half of her race after being a little behind pace at 200m.
At the finish, Tessa was a mere 3 seconds off her best time (10:50.27), but still finished 26th of 39 (most of the girls ahead were a year older). Keri-Lyn finally got her 12 year old provincial qualifier time (best time of 10:39.16, 17th, place), which not only means that she will join us in Ottawa, but that we can bring a 4th 11-12year old for a relay. Based on the individuals already qualified, this will be a very strong relay.

I am very pleased with all swims tonight and am looking forward to a fantastic weekend. Stay tuned for updates, every night when I get home from finals.

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A couple of quick thoughts...

1.) Thanks for visiting and voting on the "Most Important Thing to a Swim Club" pole. I'm not fishing for compliments with the pole, btw, I am giving everyone an opportunity to vote anonymously and in a fun way. Continue to visit and vote, the poles with change every week. Also don't be afraid to leave comments. I appreciate all the feedback.

2.) Between HHBF Meet Manager (Steve Knox) and I, we have been contacted by no less than 8 teams trying to join our time trial Saturday morning in a last ditch effort to get kids qualified for Central Regions due to a major communication breakdown from the Central Region Board. The Central Region Board really stirred the pot with their decision to keep prerequisite standards on Central Region Championships.
(Incidentally, the Central Region Board justifies their actions by stating that their meet with Prereqs was sanctioned prior to Swim Ontario's change in April... although upon closer inspection Central Regions was sanctioned on May 6th according to so I'm not a genius... but that math doesn't add up).

3.) Age Group International this weekend in Etobicoke. Stay tuned for results right here all weekend long.

Mike Thompson
Head Coach

Answering questions all parents ask...

Hi everyone. I have been getting more and more questions lately about prerequisite standards, what they are and when they are required. To complicate matters, Swim Ontario just announced a retraction of prerequisite standards in certain circumstances which I, myself, didn't understand until Saturday. The intent of this entry is to clarify some misconceptions about the prerequisite standards and to explain their purpose.

- Before I answer those questions, if anyone has any questions about swimming related issues, please email them to me ( and I will answer them in this blog as best I can. You'll be helping others because I usually get the same questions more than once (if you do not want your question to show up in the blog, just say that in the email).

Q. What are prerequisite standards?

A. Prerequisite standards were put into place about 5 or 6 years ago as the 1st step towards Swim Canada's Long Term Athlete Development Plan. The idea is that it is very easy to get an 11 or 12 year old (sometimes a 13 or 14 year old) to swim VERY fast because they are still growing. Their muscles and bones are used to recovering and occasionally you'll get a very tall 12 year old who can swim an amazingly fast 50FR by training once/week and not be able to do much else. The Long Term Athlete Development Plan (known as LTAD going forward) were intended to combat that.

All athletes are required to complete a distance FR event (400 or 800 by age) and an IM event (200 or 400 by age) in order to be eligible for provincial championships and regional championships. After obtaining these prerequisite standards, they still must qualify in an event (50FR, 200BK, etc). The idea behind this was to create better rounded athletes who could do more than 50FR. Athletes below the age of 13 have the ability to make massive gains in aerobic capacity, thus, coaches are forced to train their athletes for a distance FR events. Now the athletes have developed a great attribute going forward. Same holds true the the IM standards.

Q. How does Coach Mike feel about Prerequisite Standards?

A. I'm on the fence. I started out not liking them at all, mostly because no one at Swim Ontario understood why they existed and were just doing what Swim Canada asked them to do. Now that I understand the purpose I understand that they are there for a reason... basically to force coaches to coach a certain way. I feel that they could save kids a LOT of heartache and coaches a lot of headaches simply by educating coaches better and raising the standards.

Aside from this, it doesn't account for kids who cannot make those gains due to knee injuries, asthma or poor coordination. Even if an 12 year old can go 25.99 for a 50FR and cannot do much more because of asthma, they will not be able to go to a championship meet because they can't obtain the prerequisites. This athlete is likely to leave the sport and try something else as a result and Canada loses a GREAT 50 Freestyler. Trust me, Gary Hall Jr (American Olympian and multi gold medalist) NEVER did an 800FR or a 400IM.

Q. Whats with the new announcement on Swim Ontario's website about repealing the prerequisites?

A. In May, Swim Ontario posted the following on their website...

Pre-requisites are no longer required to be included in sanctioned meets other than Provincial Championships, as stated below from our LTAD’s policy:


In September of 2009, Swim Ontario created a rule that stated ALL sanctioned meets in Ontario had to have prerequisite standards in order to further the LTAD. The problem was that there was no idea what those standards should be. For example, the standards for our meet in May were like 16min for 400FR and 8min for 200IM. This obviously serves no purpose, as I don't believe that there is a human being alive that would fail to make those standards... they do not challenge anything. Swim Ontario now recognizes this and repealed this rule.

Q. This references Provincial Meets only... what about Central Regions? Do we still need prerequisite standards for that meet?

A. This season yes because they submitted their prerequisite standards before this decision was made. Next season, not likely because the standards are being used as crowd control rather than for LTAD... in other words, Central Region has little interest in LTAD and more interest in getting less people into the meet without raising the standards.

Hopefully that answers most questions that people have regarding prerequisite standards. Those are the most frequent questions that I am asked. If anyone would like more of an explanation about any of the above, please email. And email ALL questions to me so that I can answer them in this type of forum.

Mike Thompson
Head Coach