Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sorry folks

Sorry that I had to cut my series of World Championship team members short, folks. Life got very busy lately and my recent tablet purchase (intended to make that easier) didn't quite work out. I won't have the resources to finish that series, sadly, as I am en route to Montreal for Senior Nationals which begin tomorrow. I will do my best to keep you all informed and up to date with what's going on out here and in China. You're best to follow me on twitter, as you'll hear faster there. See you soon.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ryan Cochrane: Canada's Olympic Hero

I do believe that I have posted the above video before, but it provides some good info on Canada's best hope for anything significant on the world stage (at least in my opinion), Ryan Cochrane.

Ryan swims for Randy Bennett at the Victoria Academy of Swimming and competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics in the 400 m freestyle, where he finished ninth in the heats with a Canadian record time of 3:44.85 and failed to qualify for the final. Cochrane also competed in the 1500 m freestyle where he briefly held the Olympic record after swimming a time of 14:40.84 in the heats. This record was soon broken by previous record holder Grant Hackett, who swam a time of 14:38.92.[1] He qualified in second position for the final, and won the bronze medal on August 17.[2] It was the first Olympic medal for a Canadian swimmer since the 2000 Summer Olympics. It was the first medal for Canada in the 1500m freestyle in 88 years.[3]
At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India Cochrane won Canada's first gold medal of those games in the 400 m freestyle during the first day of competition.[4] Cochrane also became the first Canadian man in 72 years to win gold in the 400 m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games.[4] He then went on to win another gold medal at those games, this time in the 1500 m freestyle.

Below is some youtube video of Ryan and Randy and you can find my previous interview with his coach, Randy, HERE. I believe that Ryan is the guy that Swim Canada should be hanging their hat on (I'm not the only one). I am very excited to see him race and set the standard for the 2012 Olympics.

...And just to stir up some emotion, Ouss Mellouli is a pretty nice guy too...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mike Brown: A Medal Hope for Canada?

I figure with Worlds coming up, I thought I would profile a few of Canada's athletes competing. Today, I'll feature Mike Brown.

Mike Brown (born May 5, 1984) started swimming at age seven. His best finish at a world championships was at the 2005 championships in Montreal, Canada when he finished 2nd in the 200 m breaststroke. Brown won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, beating his opponent by 0.01 s. He was born in Perth, Ontario.
Brown competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the 100m and 200m Breaststroke. He finished 20th in the 100m heats with a time of 1:00.98 and 4th in the 200m final with a Canadian Record 2:08.84.

After retiring in 2009, Mike returned to action last August. The video below (courtesy of The Morning Swim Show) answers some of the questions surrounding Brown's focus and goals while returning to swimming.

UPDATE: The countdown begins...

Home Stretch

With only 2 meets and 3 weeks remaining in HHBF's season, things look pretty good. Kyle Haas, Matt Fox and Aaron Brautigam all look back to exceptional racing form, while Elizabeth Skuriat has finally gained the strength and endurance to put up some very solid distance races at AGN in Montreal.

First up with be the 2011 Summer (Senior) Nationals in Pointe Claire, Quebec where Kyle will race 50BK, 100BK, 200BK and 50FR over a 4 day period. The following week is the Canadian Age Group Championships in Montreal's Parc Jean Drapeau pool which is outdoors. This one will be attended by Kyle Haas, Matt Fox, Aaron Brautigam and Elizabeth Skuriat. Both Matt and Kyle have solid chances to win medals in this one so HHBF stands to have a fantastic meet. I hope whoever is running the HHBF club record board is paying attention, as they will have a lot of work to do in August when this is done.

It's worth noting that many friends of HHBF (Joe Bartoch, Andrew Ford, Brent Hayden, Ryan Cochrane, Randy Bennett, etc) will be at the FINA World Championships beginning July 20th. They will be broadcast on CBC. Broadcast schedule can be found HERE. We wish them the best of luck. This should be a good indication of what will happen at the 2012 Olympics next summer so tune in and show your support for MY sport and YOURS.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pita Town

Hi everyone. I've become addicted to Pita Town's shawarma wraps and other great food. I hurt my back earlier today and stopped into Pita Town for a pick me up (after visiting In Focus Physiotherapy for my back, another great Georgetown business) and noticed that, due to some construction blocking one of the plaza's enterences, the restaurant is less busy than usual. Wondering if I can count on some of my readers to help out Pita Town and owner, Jean-Claud. He's a great guy who makes great food. Stop in some time this week (hopefully Tuesday or Wednesday) for lunch or dinner. Check it out if you haven't been yet! Tell them that I sent you. You won't be sorry!

Pita Town
348 Guelph St. Unit 2A (Next to Quiznos)
Open Daily from 11am-9pm

The Shawarma is AWESOME!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ontario Open Water Provincial Championships

What a successful day for HHBF at the Open Water Provincial Championships! This was the largest and most diverse group that HHBF has ever had represent, and also the most successful by far.

Top of mind was Britney Dortona's silver medal winning performance in the girls 10-12 year old 3km race category. This is Britney's first provincial medal and HHBF should be very proud of how she did! This was Britney's 9th long distance race (6x800s, 1x1500 and 1x3km) since the end of May and she is likely exhausted, but she clearly saved the best for last. What a performance!

HHBF also had the following athletes place in their age categories:

Keri-Lyn Copeland (7th 50:40)
Bronte McMaster (17th 58:44)
Paige Olmstead (8th 58:45)
Brooklyn Shelley (18th 58:47)
Nicole Waddick (11th 1:00:58)
Shannon Kent (18th 1:04:50)
Megan Brosseau (24th 1:22.59)
Darian Zuraw (25th 1:31:07)

Note: Most impressivly, Darian Zuraw recently turned 10 so this is a HUGE achievement for her. 3KM in open water was tough enough for the older guys let alone Darian and the other younger athletes. I am very proud of this aspect of the day! A lot of young Blue Fins showing some toughness!

MItchell Krafczek (6th 45:33)
Eric Siegfriedt (18th 57:21)
Erick Ortega (19th 1:13:11)

Kyle Haas (7th 1:20:13)
Trevor Burwell (8th 1:20:26)

I must say that I am very proud of the number of Blue Fins that were brave enough to attempt this, but by how tough they were and how well they did. It was a great day overall and a fantastic way for some of these athletes to finish up their season. Don't forget; this is a provincial championships... meaning that HHBF had 5 top 8 finishes at this provincial championship and 1 medal. Really well done!! I am extremely excited about the day and the results. Great job, everyone!!

Full Swim Ontario summary can be found here.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

HHBF finishes 25th at Provincials (out of 71 scoring teams)

Sorry that I was unable to blog most of the weekend. During 4 day meet of being at the pool for at least 12 hours/day, I was just too exhausted. Those of you who follow me on Twitter were able to get the live results as they happened as well as some pictures. Based on how many are actually following, seems like a lot of you missed out on that. I really recommend setting up a twitter account and following me (coachmikehhbf).

This was probably the most emotional provincials I have ever attended, simply because it was the culmination of everything these athletes have been working for and more. Highlights included the following:

Matt Fox: First provincial championships in 100BK and 200BK (less than a second away from the meet record) as well as a silver in 200FR and a bronze in 100FR. Times he posted rivalled many older athletes in the meet and he's only 13. He also made senior provincials at age 13!! 2 club records to boot as well. This guy is going to continue to make the highlight wrap ups for time to come. Remember the name!

Mitchell Krafczek: Best times all across the board and finishing the weekend with a provincial final in 200BK and an 8th place finish with a best time. I'm very proud of him!

Keri-Lyn Copeland: I really enjoyed watching Keri-Lyn return to her top speed and best times. 50FR, 200FR, 100FR and 800FR were all bests and placed top 16 in them all. Very close to age group nationals in 100FR as well. Really strong meet from her!

Emma Fender: Club Record in 200BR and HUGE PB in 200IM. Right on top of best times in 50 and 100FR. Emma has just scratched the surface of what I believe she is able to do. A lot of raw talent in this girl.

Britney Dortona: We worked SOOOO hard to get the 800FR qualification for this meet after her late birthday. Brit was on top of her best times all weekend but some wicked improvement this season after starting in Gold and finishing in the Elite group. Her best results are yet to come!

Nolan Haas: Good return to speed and success this weekend! PBs across the board including a very brave 200BK (14 second PB). Nolan's best results are coming but it is great that he was able to prove to himself that he can get the 800 and 400IM prereq and refocus to sprint well at the meet. I'm excited about the possibilities here.

Trevor Burwell: Best times of the season for 100FR, 400FR and some very competitive races. Trevor is splitting better than he was ever able to in the past and came down for finals Sunday night to support his team. Great weekend!

Aaron Brautigam: PB in 200BR, despite being disqualified in 200BR, but great time in 200IM and 8th place finish in 100BR with a PB. I am very proud of the improvement and dedication to training Aaron showed this season.

Kyle Haas: Gold Medal and meet record in 200IM, Silver in 50FR, Bronze in 100BK and 200BK as well as 4th in 400IM. 5 club records broken over the weekend and 2 senior national qualifications, becoming the first HHBF man qualified ever. Great weekend for Kyle and his career is just getting started.

Watching Kyle break the meet record in 200IM, Matt ALMOST break the meet record in 200BK, Mitchell make finals, Keri-Lyn's 800FR and Aaron's final appearance were amongst my favourite moments this weekend. All things that made me so proud that I had to keep my emotions in check or risk looking silly. Having a senior national qualifier and having HHBF going to Olympic Trials next season also made me a little choked up. We have worked so hard for what we got: what a great weekend overall!

HHBF finished in 25th place and we beat Milton, again (34th). I believe this to be our highest medal count and best PB rate in history. There is just so much to celebrate tonight, I don't know where to start. This weekend really punctuates our great season.

I hope that all Blue Fins reading this understand that great things are possible through hard work and believing that they can be done. Both parts of that equation are necessary: Hard Work & Belief. These athletes showed the result of both. One thing I found myself telling people over and over this weekend: "You're wise not to bet against the Blue Fins."