Thursday, June 30, 2011

Provincials Day 1

I'm exhausted! Huge day but a long day. If you're not already following me on Twitter, do it so you can get live updates on whats going on at the meet. You can find me at coachmikehhbf.

Matt Fox won the 13 year old boys 100BK with a time of 1:04.89 (just 2 tenths of a second out from where Kyle Haas was at this time 2 years ago) and was 5th in the 800FR with a HUGE new club record of 9:33.45. Matt was exhausted but happy with his results.

Kyle Haas came second in 50FR with a new club record of 24.62 and moved up from 7th to 4th in 400IM with a new club record of 4:45.27. Kyle was mostly smiles with some winces of pain after his 400IM. A great competitve swim that told everyone that he's better than just 50s. Not bad for only being in the 16 year old age category for 5 days.

Emma Fender broke her HHBF club record with a new time of 3:08.34. It was excellent use of a bonus race. Speaking of great bonus races, Mitchell Krafczek swam an outstanding 50FR, beating his best short course time by .01 seconds (New PB of 26.89). Aaron Brautigam was right on top of his best 50FR while Trevor Burwell added a slight bit of time. Britney Dortona swam her 7th 800FR of the month which was a little off of her best, but still swam very well considering the circumstances. Nolan Haas ripped off time in both 100BK and 100FLY, making some brilliant progress in the LC season.

What a great way to start out the weekend! Stay tuned to TWITTER to get live updates because I'm not sure if I can stay away to blog every night when I get home.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Combination of depth, strength and dedication earned the Halton Hills Blue Fins their very first Halton Cup on Saturday June 25th. The cup is awarded once/season after 2 dual meets between the Halton Hills Blue Fins and Milton Marlins Swim Team. The highest combined points after both meets wins the cup. HHBF had a strong lead (almost 2000pts) after the first meeting in February and continued to build on that lead Saturday.

"What a statement for our team to make," said Chris Henderson. "Not that long ago, we stood no chance against MMST. Now this is a great contest."

"I'm proud of everyone and am excited to make this one of my last moments with HHBF," said coach Ian Cunningham, who will leave to start a new career in Halifax after this season. "These young athletes worked hard and deserved the win."

I am very proud of what the Blue Fins have achieved this season but winning the Halton Cup certainly adds new dimension and meaning to everything. I believe that the cup belongs in Georgetown and we will have a strong fight on our hands next season, to keep it here. But for now, congrats to the following Blue Fins who made this victory possible:
A.J. Tarczy, Aleksandar Plackoski, Alexandra Taran, Anthony Hartsink, Arielle Sabourin, Ashton Sicard, Avery Jans, Aysia Leckie, Brett Russell, Bronte McMaster, Brooklyn Shelley, Carter DeForest, Chris Zanewycz, Clancy Harris, Colleen Jarv, Danielle Taran, Emilie Knighton, Emily Collis, Eric Siegfriedt, Erick Ortega, Erika Charbonneau, Felipe Escobar, Fraser Stitt, Heather Bradshaw, Isaac West, Jake Wilson, Jason Reid, Jeffrey Jiang, Jordan Horruzey, Jordan Stott, Justin Lochert, Katherine Peel, Kelly Smith, Lauren Monhemius, Loren O'Brien-Egesborg, Mackenzie Murphy, Mackenzie Warnock, Madeline Michie, Megan Brosseau, Megan Caissie, Michael Jans, Michael Jickling, Mitchell Brearley, Nicole Waddick,Olivia Fong, Olivia Olson, Paige Olmstead, Payton Shelley, Quinn Jaggard, Quinn West, Rachel Ironside, Samantha Burwell, Sarah Reid, Shannon Jickling, Shannon Kent, Simon Olsen, Simone Fong, Sydney Taran, Tatyana Austrie, Taylr Cawte, Ted Mosoi, Thomas Schofield, Veronica Fong, Victoria Gibson and Viktoria Plackoska.

I am unbelievably proud of this team; more proud than I have ever been because what we earned, we earned as a team. It is not very often, in an individual sport, that we can dominate as a team. Celebrate and enjoy this victory! Congratulations again!

*A special Thank You to Cathan DeForest for the photos!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Interview with Randy Bennett

For those of you unaware of Randy Bennett's importance in Canadian swimming, his bio can be found HERE. He is likely best known for coaching Ryan Cochrane to a bronze medal in the 1500FR in the 2008 Olympics.

Back in November/December of 2010, I had listened to Randy Bennet address coaches regarding his periodization of his season, integrating his support staff and other coaching topics. It was at that point I had decided that I wanted to get an exclusive for this blog with his thoughts on the state of Age Group swimming in Ontario (specifically, that we're really good at getting athletes to a certain point in this province). I emailed Randy after he returned to BC from Ontario and he agreed that it would be something that he would do. However, being both very busy, Randy and I were never able to hook up and I figured the idea was lost in space. Not so! Thanks to the tip off from Matt Kwatyra, while HHBF was in London this past weekend, I found out that Randy and the VAS were going to be training in the London Thames Pool this week. As soon as I got home, I contacted Randy again and we arranged to meet today.

I was very nervous because I know that he is an extremely busy guy and felt like I was bugging him. After all, this interview will not end up on the nightly news or anywhere important; its for a not for profit Blog... who cares, right?

Once we hammered out our logistics, I packed up my young children, arranged for a friend to watch them and hiked out to London to meet around noon (on my afternoon off). I arrived at Randy's hotel just as he returned from a workout and he welcomed me like I was the most important person in the world... not what I was expecting. We sat and chatted about my program, swimmers, facility, township, challenges and successes for a long time before he was ready to get down to business. I was actually feeling very comfortable when this all began.

The interview that followed can be listened to HERE. Our conversation went much beyond the interview and I feel that I got validation of where I am leading my program, as a coach, but also I felt that I learned a bunch from this guy. Randy is a real visionary and a brilliant man! Thanks again, Randy, for your time today. I hope that you all enjoy the interview.

NB: if you can only listen to a little bit of it, check out the section from 27min 45seconds. His answer to this question and the follow up are UNBELIEVABLE!! Such insight!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What a weekend!

Happy Fathers Day!

Yesterday, HHBF held a time trial in the morning at GHIP. The morning saw some success as Livy Olson, again broke the HHBF club record in 200FLY, this time in short course metres (SCM). Nolan Haas also obtained his 800FR prerequisite for provincials (fitting since he qualified in 3 events). Britney Dortona missed her 800FR standard and will get 1 more shot on Tuesday at a time trial in Etobicoke. Wish her luck.

At 2:00pm on Saturday, some of the Elite group made the trip to London, ON to train with Mississauga Aquatic club in London's Thames Park Pool (an outdoor 50m pool). The athletes (Britney Dortona, Emma Fender, Keri-Lyn Copeland, Matt Fox, Bjoern-Ole Schrader, Nolan Haas, Mitchell Krafczek and Kyle Haas) trained from 4:45-7pm on Saturday in the blazing sun. We then got some diner at Eastside Mario's and retired to our hotel. Sunday morning, the athletes woke up and went back to Thames Park for another 2 hour practice from 9am-11am which consisted mostly of longer swimming. London Aquatic Club and Team Canada member, Matt Kwatyra stopped by at the end of this practice to talk about his preparation for Junior World Championships in Lima, Peru this summer as well as his decision to stay local next season in order to focus on 2012 Olympic Trials. Special thanks to Matt for spending his day off with us.

The weather was fantastic! Very sunny and very hot on both days. Swimmers going to Age Group Nationals (which is in an outdoor pool in Montreal this summer) got the opportunity to get used to swimming against the wind and sun so that it does not shock them when its race time. Others will get the benefit from the long course training going into Provincials in 2 weeks. EVERYONE had a great time training in the sun and getting away as a team. A lot of us had fun and it is definitely something we are looking forward to doing again.

I got home around 2 today and took a nap. I was exhausted as this is a very busy time of the year! Now, I'm up and writing this post while I wait for my wife and children come home to enjoy some time with me on Fathers Day. I hope that all dads have a great day today! Happy Fathers Day, guys!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Santa Clara Grand Prix

Results can be found HERE.

Check out the live stream below. Great Racing so far!!

Streaming Video by Ustream.TV


How can Brent Hayden solicit more votes than the bronze medalist in 1500FR at the 2008 Olympics??? Ryan just broke a meet record at the Santa Clara Grand Prix in the 800FR. I don't understand why Ryan gets no respect. What does he have to do; save you from pirate captors???

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mixed Bag

Hi everyone. A few things to talk about in 1 post: a Mixed Bag if you will.

Last night was the HHBF Year End Party. Its amazing to think that this was my 6th one (techincally 5th because I was forced to skip one while sick) and how much the club has grown. When I started, HHBF did this in a church basement and you could count the athletes. Last night we had to use the Georgetown Secondary School cafeteria and it was still crowded. Watching the club and athletes grow never gets old for me. A lot of work went into making it a great night; thank you to all the volunteers who made it possible. A special thanks to Shellie Little-Taran for putting it together.

Individual Award Winners from last night were:

President Award
Kate Erdley
Julia Kerrigan

Most Improved
Intro - Female - Jordan Pawlowski
Intro - Male - Spencer Zylstra
Intro Comp – Female - Angela Wallace
Intro Comp – Male – Hartley Snyder

Silver Presidents Award
Anthony Hartsink
Jordan Stott

Bronze Presidents Award
Sydney Taran
Simon Olsen

Gold Presidents Award
Justin Lochert
Victoria Gibson

Regional Development Presidents Award
Viktoria Plackoska
Bronte McMaster

Platinum Presidents Award
Brooklyn Shelley
Quinn Jaggard

Elite Presidents Award
Matt Fox
Samantha Ceci

Rookie of the Year
Katherine Peel

The Mandy Bull Award
Avery Jans: Avery is an outgoing, loud cheering, positive, team supporting, Bluefin machine. From pompoms and face painting at meets to leading and motivating her lane at practice she is a ball of energy. Her humor energy and positivity (even at 5:30am) at every practice keep us smiling even when the sets are long and hard. Her ability to lead a set and keep everyone on track even when everyone (including the coach) has lost count on how much we've done, is second to none. She's a kind hearted, caring individual that is a joy to coach. Great Attitude, Great Attendance, Great Effort, Great Results! Congrats Avery.

I really want to express my mixed emotion (happy and sad) that Karl Massey and Elizabeth Skuriat will be moving on next season. Both were crucial to my plan to expanding the Bluefins to where we are now and set a great example that both school and athletics can be done. They will be missed as coaches and as swimmers. They're both outstanding citizens and we should be proud that they represented us for so long (hopefully Elizabeth can still represent us when CIS season is done). Since we couldn't watch the slide show that the club put together for them, I'll see if I can post it here in the next few days. Happy trails, you guys.


I stopped in at headquarters this morning to do some work and pass along a copy of the Andrew Ford Interview that we did last week. It will be airing tonight at 8pm. You can listen live here, but don't just wait for the interview (because I know you've listened like 100 times already... right?) listen all the time. Fantastic mix of music and the guys over there are great. They're huge HHBF supporters.


We are past the due date for Ontario Open Water Championships. Registration for the event is still possible but I am doing the group registration for HHBF tomorrow. Anyone else that wants to save themselves the trouble of registering online had better make contact with me ASAP.


My cousin, Paul DeCarli (I am obligated to refer to as a pioneer in the field of digital music editing) who resides in California, started up a great blog for music lovers from the 1980s. Check it out, it makes you think of songs and bands that you haven't thought about for ages. Thanks, Paul!

That'll do it for today. Don't forget to follow me on twitter and check the blog over the summer.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Central Regions Day 4

Sunday started out a little rough like many Sundays of 4 day meets do. After some hard fought 200FR races, Loren O'Brien-Egesborg began to swim more aggressively and posted a best time in 200BK and 50FR shortly after.

I was very impressed with Brooklyn Shelley's 100BR, in which she took off 5 seconds from her previous best and looked very strong and in control. Her and Britney Dortona had the best splitting on any events during the day.

AJ Tarczy equaled his best short course time in his 200BK and placed 11th overall with very quick walls.

50FR sswimming was very fast but the fundamentals were a little rough. It seemed like our swimmers were very eager to look at the giant Etobicoke score board, as many of the moved their heads up in that direction before they had actually touched the wall. Overall though, 50FR yielded some very good results: Bronte McMaster (31.30) finished 12th/55, Clancy Harris, also with a best time finished in the top 45 in the 13 year old age category. Kelly Smith and Olivia Fong were 22nd and 52nd in the 14 year old age category.

The girls 13-14 relay finished up the day in 20th place with many teams such as Milton, Gators, and Etobicoke scratching teams. There were 9 team scratches overall so our team likely would have beat more, had they swum, as the girls did a great job (over 3 seconds faster than we expected them to go).

The afternoon session saw Britney Dortona JUST sneak under the provincial prereq time in 400IM and shed a full 3.5 seconds in her 200FR. Olivia Fong and Britney represented Saturday's relay team and accepted the medals on Emma and Aysia's behalf (see below). Michael Jans and Quinn Jaggard swim very aggressive, smart races despite being slightly over their best times. Bjoern-Ole Schrader also placed 16th in 400IM.

HHBF finished 25th at this meet (Milton Marlins finished 26th for any of you keeping track of how many times we beat them this season) and I feel that we did what we went to do. It is unfortunate that many schools scheduled trips around this time of year, but I give much credit to those athletes affected for stepping up and racing after being out of the water; after all, they had no choice but to miss training for school. Even after having to miss that time, they were all eager to get back in the water, race, and do everything they could to represent HHBF as best they could. We did very well this past weekend and the HHBF community should be proud of these athletes.


I really liked this view point on Lebron James losing out on an NBA Championship again last night. Its a really good read and I can't agree with it more. Thanks, ESPN!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Central Region Championships

This meet started on Thursday afternoon, but I have been too busy to write about it. Here are our highlights so far:

Thursday night: 800FR went well. Britney Dortona just missed the provincial standard by 0.22 seconds. All of the 800s were swum 2 per lane and not from the starting block (which I would argue would have saved her more then 0.22 seconds, but not much we can do about that). Sam Ceci, Colleen Jarv, Clancy Harris, Veronica Fong and Bjoern-Ole Schrader also had good swims in 800FR.

Friday: A few very solid 200IMs (Aysia Leckie under 3:00 for the first time and Emma Fender with a best time and placing 4th overall) and 50FRs (Aysia Leckie, again, with a best time and 6th overall and Britney Dortona and Veronica Fong placing in the top 20). Emma Fender obtained a bronze medal in 200BR with a PB and new club record (3:12.52) with Veronica Fong in 9th, also with a best time of about 2 seconds. Britney Dortona placed 6th in 400FR with a 2 second PB and Colleen Jarv placed 17th.

Saturday: The day started out very well with Clancy Harris almost breaking 1:10 for the first time in 100FR (she placed 25th/45). Sam Ceci and Loren O'Brien-Egesborg both had solid swims. Sam was slightly faster than she had been before and Loren was right on top of her best time. Sam placed 45th and Loren 54th out of 85. AJ Tarcy also had a best time in 100FR and placed 23rd. Loren placed 24th/48 in 100BK and AJ was 9th but did not make it into finals by scratches. The girls 13-14 200FR relay finished 14th after moving up from an 18th place seed. Some very solid swimming on this relay from Olivia Fong, Clancy Harris, Bronte McMaster and Kelly Smith (who was almost under 30 seconds in her leg). HHBF also beat Milton, who was seeded ahead.
In the afternoon session, we had some very exciting races! Emma Fender placed 8th in 100FR, but was slightly above her best time. Aysia Leckie and Britney Dortona was under 1:10 for the first time in 100FR, Quinn Jaggard placed 14th in 100FR with a new PB of 1:06.69. Veronica Fong and Emma Fender came 6th and 7th in 100BR. Livy Olson placed 14th in 100FLY in her very first race in this championship meet (she also had a 3 second best time by 3 seconds). Michael Jans (just returning from a school trip) muscled his way through a 200BK which was very heroic and well swum, but slightly above his best time.
Perhaps the most exciting moment of the day was in the girls 11-12 200FR relay when the HHBF girls (Aysia Leckie, Veronica Fong, Britney Dortona and Emma Fender) out touched the mighty Oakville girls by .01 seconds to win the bronze medal. They finished just behind TSC and NYAC and finished ahead of teams like Eswim, and Markham which is a huge achievement for these 4 girls. A great big congratulations to them.

So far, things going very well and I'm very proud of our performances. 1 day to go: I'll do my best to keep you posted.

Also, Swim Ontario picked up my recording of Andrew Ford's talk to the Blue Fins. See what they had to say about it HERE. This story also appears on the front page of Swim Ontario's website which is great exposure for our team. It really was a great visit. I encourage everyone to take a listen.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Andrew Ford Interview

National Team Member, Andrew Ford visited HHBF this afternoon to discuss his successes and struggles throughout his swimming career. As I did not have a video camera with a charged battery, I had to audio record the interview rather than video tape it. Complete audio stream of the interview available HERE.

Many thanks to the Guelph Marlins and Andrew's coach, Don Burton, for lending us Andrew for the afternoon. I think the Blue Fins got a lot out of the experience and I certainly enjoyed listening to what Andrew had to say. He has agreed to let me post this on the web so you can enjoy it too. He is a real class act and a fantastic representative for Canadian Swimming.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

HHBF @ Relay For Life

This past weekend, many Blue Fins participated in the Relay for Life. The HHBF team (which was organized by Bronte McMaster and Avery Jans) included Blue Fins team mates such as Jason Reid, Viktoria Plackoska, Michael Jans, Tatyana Austrie, Isaac West, Arielle Sabourin, and Olivia Fong.

Reports from the event were that these Blue Fins represented out team very well (and there are many reports that they were the only team that did not stop the entire time). Quinn West, Sarah Reid and Aleks Plackoski stayed and joined the team for the entire event and Coach Chris and his wife, Mallory, stopped by to do a couple of laps with the athletes.

I am very proud of the reports coming to me from my athletes and the rest of our team should be too. This was great exposure for our team and a great team building event for those who participated. Well done.

Monday, June 6, 2011

AGI - Sunday Wrap Up

Now that I have some time to type; yesterday was a pretty good day. Highlights include the HHBF boys 15&Over 200BR LC record broken 3 times by 2 different people (first by Kyle and Aaron and finally by Kyle Haas @ 2:33.11), Loren broke the girls 15&Over 50fly record (32.64), Nolan broke the boys 13-14 50fly record, Matt Fox placed 6th in 100BK (highest placing 13 year old and a small PB), Britney Dortona had a huge PB in 400FR Trevor Burwell had a small PB in 400FR and Emma Fender qualified for provincials in 100FR.

All in all an interesting weekend. Almost every HHBF athlete had a different purpose there. With provincials and regionals not far away, its very tough placement of a meet. It was tough for 17 and overs because of some world class athletes filling up finals spots. It was tough for 13-14 year olds because they had an afternoon session that went right into finals (In Matt Fox's case, he had a little more than 90min between his race and finals). Ideally its a great meet for 11-12s (who don't have finals) and 15-16 as a good chance to swim finals. I may reassess the need for a meet at that time of the year next season, but as of right now, it was a pretty good weekend.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

AGI Sunday morning check-in

Sorry I haven't posted anything yet, but it has been a very busy weekend and I just haven't had the energy to type. This has been a very tough, fast meet; faster than I remember it last season. So far I have counted 5 2008 Olympians taking part (Tobias Oriwol, Joe Bartoch and Richard Hortness from Canada and 2 from Mexico) as well as a few more that are going to World Championships this summer (Brittany MacLean, etc) and many more that are going to Junior World Championships. This is a very fast meet.

HHBF is faring pretty well so far, especially considering many of our athletes are not rested and are swimming off events.

Thursday's highlights included Trevor Burwell reclaiming his 1500fr club record from Kyle Haas with a best of 18:07 and Britney Dortona just missing the provincial cut in 800fr, but significantly lowering her best time (she'll get another chance next weekend).

Friday saw Kyle Haas make 2 finals and win bronze medals in both while setting 2 new club records: 200im 2:12.83 and 100br (1:10.39), Trevor Burwell breaking the club record in 200fr (2:06.36), Mitchell Krafczek with a best 200fr swim and Matt Fox squeeking into the finals in 200fr.

Saturday was great and saw a best time and new club record from Sam Ceci in 100fly (1:12.28). Matt, Aaron Brautigam and Kyle all made finals which yielded some good swims, but the biggest improvement seen yesterday was in 400im where Matt and Kyle each dropped over 11 seconds and placed very high in the rankings. Great news as this is what we have been working on for the last few weeks.
(NB: I owe Newmarket swimmer Jake Silverthorn a donut as a result of one of our great races on Saturday).

So its warmup Sunday morning and I'm excited for some good races today. This will be my 3rd 13hour day in a row and I'm a little punchy so sorry for any type-o's above. I think today is going to be a great day!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Age Group International - Etobicoke

AGI starts today in Etobicoke. This is a good opportunity for our athletes to get a sneak peak at their competition going into provincials, and also to swim against some very stiff competition. Athletes like Warren Barnes, Tobias Oriwol, Matt Kwatyra, Cam Cummings, Cynthia Pammett, Amanda Reason, Brittany MacLean and others will square off in a LC competition at the Olympium. It should be an interesting weekend for HHBF, but you'd be crazy if you expected me to talk about my strategy going into this meet on the internet. I'll update as the weekend goes, but trust me it will be a good weekend.

Psych sheets and heat sheets are available at ESWIM's Website.

Stay tuned for updates.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Athletic Foodie post

American Gold Medalist, Garret Weber-Gale runs a website called "Athletic Foodie" which I have started getting very interested in. He is a very good writer and gives some great advice (although I take it in the context that he is an athlete, not a doctor) on nutrition and other things. I found his post today a pretty good read. Check it out.