SWIMMING CANADA STATEMENT
An integral part of Swimming Canada’s mission is to inspire Canadians to be active and healthy. Masters Swimmers are the embodiment of this. Swimming Canada recognizes that Masters Swimmers are magnificent ambassadors and advocates for our sport, both with their friends and families, and within the community at large. Whether training for fitness or to compete, all Masters Swimmers are an essential part of the Swimming Canada family.
Swimming Canada aims to provide the best possible support to the Masters Swimming community, working collaboratively with the provincial sections, to provide meet sanctioning, coach certification, official certification, club services, insurance, etc. Swimming Canada’s close relationship with our international partners provides recognition of Swimming Canada events and of our member Swimmers’ performances.
January 6, 20201
White Rock Wave
White Rock Wave Masters swim team swim out of the Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex in the South Surrey / White Rock area of British Columbia, during more normal times their home pool is in South Surrey BC. Formed in 2001, their membership is comprised of about sixty swimmers aged 20 to 96 who train together for fitness and competition.
The White Rock Wave Masters were honoured in April of 2020 by the Masters Swimming Association of BC with the League Trophy in the category of a medium sized (31-90 registered swimmers) team. The award is given out annually to the team that has scored the most number of Hy-Tek points during the regular BC sanctioned meets, prior to provincial championships.
White Rock Wave Masters have a great group of people who love to be together in and outside of the pool. During the period where pools have not been open in their community, many team members have been getting together for open water swims in the nearby lakes and the ocean. They regularly compete in open water races during the summer and have missed the traditional events this year. Many of their members are also used to seeing one other in the community at kids’ meets and other aquatic activities throughout the year. Some members have children on teams, others are long-time volunteers at swim meets in the area. While most of these events have been cancelled due to COVID-19, they organized a few other safe and socially distanced get-togethers and drive-by birthday celebrations for some of their oldest members.
Believe it or not, many of their group are still swimming in the sea (January 4th, 2021). It’s still quite the thing. Some take the plunge with only a swimsuit, booties and gloves….other go full wetsuits and swim about 2000m. The water temperature is 4,8º to 5,2ºC.
The White Rock Waves have a few sponsors who provide them periodically with t-shirts and caps. They have an active website (whiterockwave.com) giving all the information about registration and trainings and Facebook page (facebook.com/WhiteRockWaveMastersSwimTeam) with a number of great photographers amongst them who document their events. The White Rock Waves are looking forward to getting back in the pool soon!
December 31, 2020
Looking back at the 2020 season there is still cause to rejoice and celebrate Masters swimming in Canada.
41 new Canadian Records were set by our swimmers from January 1st to March 1st. Congratulations to Hella Versfeld, Madeleine Sévigny, Sarah MacDonald, Mae Waldie, Carl Waterer, Karl Donoghue, Detlev Grabs, Jack Kelso, Chris Daniels, Pat O’Brien and Ron Armstrong for their individual achievements. Congratulations to the men’s relay team from Hera Blue Swim Club on their Canadian Record.
In May we announced the recipients of the first Swimming Canada Masters Swimming Awards. Excellence in Coaching was awarded to Gaël Chaubet of DSC, Excellence in Swimming was awarded to Kalis Rasmussen of EOMAC and Pablo Conde of MACC and Long-Term Contribution was awarded to Charlie Lane of EOMAC. Congratulations again to our recipients.
2021 will provide new opportunities to swim; in our club pools, in our back yards, in lakes and the ocean, when the water calls Masters Swimmers will return. Until then, be well and be safe.
December 23, 2020
Meet the Blue Boyz Club and the Pink Ladies by Nancy Thibault, Natation Ste-Foy Haute St-Charles
In July of 2007, as a 27-year-old National level swimmer, I hung up my workout and competition suits. I exited the age group circuit as my body was aging and I was looking forward to having a more ‘normal’ life. Regardless of the speed at which I did swim or the speed at which I swim now, I am a Swimmer and feel at home in the water.
In August of 2007 I challenged myself to participate in a 5km open water race in Lake Memphrémagog, Quebec. Let’s say the reason I saw this as a challenge is I don’t like swimming much when I can’t see the bottom, even now after so many years. Le course was 10 laps around three buoys, I completed 11!! OUPS.
Nearly a year later I joined the Club des maîtres nageurs de Sainte-Foy. During a competition at the Wilbrod-Bhérer pool I overheard teammates mention that they did some lake swimming, I displayed my interest at being invited to join them. On September 12th, 2012 I was finally invited to the lake.
The LAKE (we prefer to keep secret the location of the LAKE and only refer to it as the LAKE) is a small private lake in the northern part of Québec City (1 lap, while staying close to the shore, is about 1km). One of the Boyz has a chalet on the lake. The summer of 2011 was slipping away and Jean wanted to get rid of his surplus hamburgers before winter. He invited some swimmers to join him and the Club was inaugurated. The original Club was composed of 5 men.
- Jean Roy also known as Jean or Man or the other Man or Johnny boy: Jean swam in Beauport from 1966 to 1970. Following his time in Beauport he swam at the PEPS of the Université de Laval subsequent to its inauguration in September 1970. His best event was the 100 backstroke. He stopped swimming because of Bob. At 16 Jean was 4’-11”, 93 lbs, a resting heart beat of 32 and Bob was 6’-1”. Following his retirement from swimming, Jean was recruited by les Citadelles de Québec, a water polo team. He participated in 9 Canadian Junior and Senior Water Polo Championships. During this time, he got to know Raymond. Several years later, in 2006, he started to swim with the lunchtime gang at the PEPS. Here he met Paul B. Jean is the instigator of the group and the host.
- Raymond Lajeunesse also known as Ray: Raymond played water polo for 20 years or so and participated in several Canadian Junior and Senior Water Polo Championships. While a member of the Québec team he participated in international competitions in Curaçao, Europe and the United-States. During these years he met Jean. Raymond started swimming to compliment his water polo training. An endurance athlete, he as participated in 5 Ironman competitions completing his first at 46. He occasionally relates stories of his youth when he spent 3 great years working as a marine. Raymond often says he is lucky to be able to swim with the Champions of Quebec swimming. His exact words are “I swim with the Elite of Quebec swimming”.
- Robert Lachance also known as Bob or Man or the other Man: Age group swimmer from 1972-1981. Twice medalist at the Canadian University Championships and Canadian Swimming Championships. Performed also in open water competitions, completing long distance swims in Canada, the United-States and Egypt. In 1982 he was victorious in the grueling la Traversée International du Lac Saint-Jean. He was the 4th Canadian to have won the race since its inception in 1955 and one of only 6 Canadian winners all-time. For the 50th anniversary of la Traversée, in 2004, at the age of 46, he completed the distance of 32km once again. Robert was inducted into the Québec Swimming Hall of Fame in October 2015. I describe Robert as having the coat of a polar bear.
- Paul Thibaudeau also known as Paul T.: Paul began swimming in the Beauce region of Quebec back when girls and boys swam in separate pools. He also swam in Cap-Rouge, at the Université Laval and the Université de Sherbrooke. During a competition at the Wilbrod-Bhérer pool, Jean and Paul swam and 800m freestyle in adjacent lanes, the race was tight but Paul vanquished Jean by 1 or 2 seconds at the end. From this dual a friendship was born, Jean got his revenge a few years later. Paul has not distinguished himself as high performance swimmer but he is passionate about the water. He has participated in friendly open water events. Forever smiling, though shy, he can be quite chatty when given the opportunity. Funny fact, from May through October Paul begins each day with a dip in his pool (temperatures from 50F to 83F). Because of his sweet tooth he is responsible for the desert menu.
- Paul Boisvert also known as Paul B.: Menu planner for the group. He is also the statistician, with him everything is calculated, everything is quantified. An age group swimmer in Shawinigan from the age of 10 to 19, he returned to the pool in 1994 as a Masters swimmer. In 2002 he decided to get back in shape and gave himself the objective of breaking several records, all of which were attained in the following 7 years. Paul has participated in a number of international competitions, he medaled at the 1997 Eurogames in Paris and at the 2006 Outgames in Montréal. In December 2019 he completed the remarkable distance of 10 million meters swum since 2006. For the past 22 years he has had a standing appointment with a group of swimmers who meet to train every lunch hour at the PEPS of the Université de Laval. Paul is known to lead us in colorful and surprising discussions.
The Blue Club was coloured Pink in September 2012 by my arrival as an official member of the group.
- Nancy Thibault also known as Nenz.: I was a National level breaststroker, I have a few Quebec and Canadian Masters records in breaststroke, freestyle and individual medley events. I won gold medals at the Masters Pan American Games in 2013 in Florida and the Masters World Championships in 2014 in Montreal. I am the creative one of the group taking a commemorative picture before each outing at the LAKE.
After being invited to the LAKE one Tuesday, Julie officially joined the group two weeks later on August 6, 2013.
- Julie Tardif also known as Djou: Originally from Lac Saint-Jean, she was initiated to open water swimming prior to the pool. She is a pure sprinter, national level 50m-100m freestyler, 50m breaststroker, medalist at the Canadian University Championships and silver medalist at the 2014 Masters World Championships. Julie was recruited to the group by Robert in 2013 at la Traversée du Lac Saint-Jean, where they were both spectators.
The formula at the LAKE is simple, we meet on every second Tuesday when the air and water temperatures permit. 18h00 in the water, one or two laps around the LAKE with stops to wait for one another and chat. We follow up with hot tub, beer, snacks, supper, desert, kiss, kiss, ciao, bye. Each member contributes a part of the menu as established by Paul B. We make certain to meet when all members are able to be in attendance. There is also a season kickoff and season ending dinner where spouses are included. In 2018 we added a bicycle trip and in 2019 nine holes of golf. The summer of 2020 included plans to participate in the 1km swim at Lac Saint-Jean, you know how that story ended.
Sometimes we invite swimmers as special guests. The guests always contribute a bottle of wine which is shared 7 ways as I don’t drink wine so not too much foolishness ensues. We talk swimming, the guys pull out their old stories that Julie and I don’t understand as we weren’t born yet!.
The very peculiar 2020 season and summer
Pools closed in March. When you have spent most of your life swimming the withdrawal is difficult. We knew that swimming in the LAKE was going to be our best chance to have the opportunity to do a few laps. As I said to Jean “You will be my new best friend this summer”. Hihi!
Our first dip in the LAKE was June 2nd, the temperature was 67F. The coldest at which I remember ever having swum was 58F. I would certainly be able to get into colder water but right then and there the pleasure of paddling around in the cold was not present. At the start of the swimming season you can see the bottom of the LAKE and all the fish. Did I mention I am ‘afraid’ of fish? In my imagination they are monsters ready to attack…I know you will say my story is incredibly unrealistic but even my pulse increases when I see the little beasts with gills below or in front of me. In the LAKE I have acknowledged a few yellow perch, bass and pike. I’d rather not remember the pike caught off Jean’s neighbours dock in July 2017.
The guys know that I never swim alone in the LAKE and that I prefer to always have visual contact with a teammate. This year I completed my first solo lap like a big girl. I know the areas where I am most afraid. I think I prefer where I can see the bottom and the enemy coming than the deeper parts.
This year I have been able to spend more time than ever with the Boyz. Julie realized that Jean, who is a good golfer, could use his laser to measure the distance between the docks. We measured the distance between the different docks and ours and subsequently created workouts. There is a 25m dock (the neighbour), a 55m dock (the one with the black ladders), a 108m dock (the beat up one), a 120m dock (Ti-Mel & Ti-Pat’s), a 150m dock (the grey one on the other side of the lake). We swam our sets 4 swimmers abreast; going straight in the backstroke was challenging.
I had some great times this summer. We had great weather. The LAKE got up to 82F at 6h30 one morning. For a lake that’s warm. I swam 38 times in the LAKE this summer.
The other residents around the lake saw lots of orange caps this summer. We inspired some to get in the water with safety buoys for their solo swims.
We have a closed Facebook group where we share pictures taken over the years. We record the water temperature on our outings. During the lockdown we had Zoom meeting where Jean quizzed us on the history of swimming.
This summer several member of the group purchased wetsuits so swimming was more agreeable at the end of the summer. Some of us required more coverage than others!
Next year the members of the original group will celebrate their 10 year anniversary, party with hugs or a Zoom party, time will tell.
December 9, 2020
Shannon Roen, YMCA Calgary Masters
Shannon Roen is a 42-year-old mother of three girls who swims with the YMCA Calgary Masters. Before having the birth of her children she was a middle school math and science teacher, but now, most of her time and energy is focused on her daughters.
Shannon swam competitively for a few years when she was young, but the early morning practices became too much for her and she decided to call it quits. Now, all these years later, she feels great being back in the pool and getting back in shape after having children. Shannon still finds it extremely to drag herself out of bed at 5 AM, some things never change, but she always feels great at the end of the workout. Swimming in the mornings energizes her for the day and gives her the strength to keep up with her girls.
With three active kids, Shannon’s family has a very busy schedule. She and her husband always joke that they only get to see each other on weekends because their weekdays are so hectic. Their youngest daughter is only 3, so days are spent going to preschool, visiting the zoo, and of course, going swimming. She already loves the water. The couple also has 10-year-old twins. One of them plays Tier 1 soccer and has practices and games several times a week. She’s very dedicated and Shannon admires her work ethic. The other has started swimming with a club in Calgary and is a natural in the water. Shannon has a feeling it won’t be long before she is faster than her and she can’t wait for that day! Shannon loves sharing the bond of swimming with daughter.
Shannon swims to stay healthy for her children and to inspire them to lead active lifestyles. She also loves the fun of competing against herself and the challenge to swim just a little bit faster. But most of all, when she’s in the pool, it’s only for herself and she’s not worrying about what to make for dinner, or which child needs to get to what activity next. Swimming is her “Me Time” when she gets to focus on just on herself.
December 2, 2020
The December challenge has been launched and we invite you to participate. See the CHALLENGES tab for more information.
November 25, 2020
Meet Joy Friesen, Prince Albert Sharks Swim Club
Joy Friesen is a 53-year-old mother of grown twin daughters, as well as two stepdaughters, who swims with the Prince Albert Sharks Swim Club in Saskatchewan and has taught at a post-secondary institute for 2 decades. While she loves her job, it can be stressful.
Joy started swimming with the Regina Optimist Dolphins (ROD) in Regina in 1974 at the age of 6. She swam for her entire childhood and through her teenage years. Joy was named the National Youth team in 1982 at the age of 14. She then earned a swimming scholarship to Brigham Young University in Utah where she attended from 1985-1988. Upon returning to Regina, after the completion of her degree, she began coaching swimming with ROD. Joy briefly swam as a masters swimmer in her early 30s, but once she had children life got the better of her. She returned to swimming in 2015 when she started exploring open water swimming as well as masters swimming.
Joy absolutely loves both for different reasons. Open water swimming is such an adventure and meditative in nature. Her favorite open water adventure to date is the Golden Gate Bridge race which she entered to commemorate turning 50. Joy feels Masters swimming is such a blast and one of her favorite things is the social aspect. Attending meets and meeting and reconnecting with childhood swimming friends is fantastic! Joy has really enjoyed attending the Master Championships the last few years.
Joy likes swimming in the mornings as it fits best into her weekly routine. She loves the feeling of starting her day with pushing herself to make the pace times the coach sets out. She still keeps a logbook where she records her entire workout, pace times, personal bests, just like when she was a kid! Swimming always puts her in a good mood, it is great for her body and even better for her mind! Joy finds that swimming demands a mindfulness that helps her let go of stress and worry and just be in the moment.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been difficult for Joy in several ways. Joy’s work became exponentially more difficult and without the physical and emotional outlet of swimming her stress levels peaked. She also felt defeated because she had worked very hard to be consistent in her training. Once swimming was no longer an option, she felt lost. Joy has returned to swimming this fall and while she not in the shape she was pre-Covid-19, she is completely enjoying the benefits swimming has to offer.
Within her club, Joy is the Masters Representative and a certified swimming official. She has found it exciting to see the Masters group expand in the last few years with new members joining with various swimming goals.
“Swimming has shaped pretty much my entire life. The mindset and lessons it has taught me as a child have endured and guided me in many ways. Principles like striving for my personal best, goal setting, hard work, dedication and determination, the power of the mind and attention to detail are all gifts swimming has given me. Some of the best teachers were my failures in swimming and learning to get back in the pool and try again. Swimming has made me tough and strong and a fighter when life had gotten hard. ” – Joy Friesen
November 11, 2020
Meet Linda Stanley Wilson, White Rock Waves
Linda Stanley Wilson is a sixty-two year old retired university professor living in beautiful South Surrey British Columbia overlooking the Semiahmoo Bay. When she is not swimming, she is most likely to be in the garden or volunteering in her community. Linda started swimming at the end of high school when her school built a new pool. She loved it so much that she went on to swim at university in Calofirnia, play water polo, and even did some synchro (water ballet, as it was called in the 70s).
After university, she decided to keep swimming, but took up the sport in open water. Living in San Francisco at the time, Linda regularly swam with the San Francisco Dolphin Club in Aquatic Park. Her all-time favorite swim is the Trans Tahoe Relay Race because the water is so clear and blue, but a close second is the Maui Channel Relay Race. Linda just loves open water swimming and swimming in relays! She also coached a high school team during this time and has taught aquatics and outdoor education throughout her life.
Swimming is so important to Linda, that she gave her then-prospective husband a swim test before agreeing to dating. They met at Kits Pool in Vancouver, where he was there just for a tan! He did pass the swim test, but Linda usually considers him more of a deck ornament rather than a swimmer. Their son became a swimmer at an early age and enjoyed a short career in competitive swimming before turning to his real love—math and computers.
Linda moved to British Columbia, about 20 or so years ago, to take a position at UBC. She began swimming in a pool again for exercise and taught aquatics among other courses at UBC. She completed some open water swims and the yearly Polar Bear swim in English Bay. A few years ago, Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer and continued swimming through treatment, but decided that maybe she would join a club for the camaraderie and recuperation, she had no intention of competing in pool races.
Linda joined the White Rock Wave because she had heard about the legendary coach, Carole Gair. Linda found it tough to listen to a coach telling her what to do after swimming on her own for decades! She had to un-learn her 1970s stroke mechanics, turns, and starts and learn to decipher the work-out board lingo and squint her old eyes enough so that she could see the pace clock. Linda agreed to swim in some races and found that her favorite thing was still relay races. She was very excited to set a BC record in a mixed 280+ relay and absolutely loves swimming with others!
Linda’s husband (the one who passed that early swim test) had just joined her on the team when they were shut down in March. She bought him a fancy wetsuit and he agreed to join her in open water swimming in early spring and this summer, but now that the ocean is down to about 13 degrees, he is bowing out. Until a local pool opens again, she and several of her swimming partners have vowed to continue swimming outdoors through the winter!! They shall see! They try for a minimum of three swims a week, but Linda will jump in whenever anyone else is up to it (usually sunny days!). Linda recently became the president of her club and is working on getting them some pool time when the one pool in their community opens, potentially, later this year.
November 4, 2020
Swimming Canada Masters Swimming Committee
The Swimming Canada Masters Swimming Committee met for the first time this season, in October, to review the projects completed during the 2019-2020 season and to help set priorities for the upcoming season. While we are living in extraordinarily fluid and challenging times, everyone is motivated to engage with our community.
The new season brings a new face to the committee and we are pleased to welcome Ian Sutherland of Nova Scotia. Ian was an age group swimmer in New Brunswick growing up and returned to swimming with Masters in 2014 in Halifax. Ian brings his enthusiasm for Masters Swimming to the committee and his perspective from the Maritimes. Welcome Ian!
We see the departure from the committee of Sylvie Potvin of Quebec and Étienne Beaulé of New Brunswick. We thank them for their invaluable contributions this past year, their assessment of Masters Swimming in their respective provinces and their vision on the advancement of the sport. Thank you Sylvie and Étienne!
This year’s committee members are John Holmwood BC, Barry Lewis AB, Heather Hynes SK, John McIntyre ON, Dan Thompson ON, Ian Sutherland NS and Greg King NL.
October 28, 2020
Meet Vona MacMillan, Campbelton Aquatika Club
October 14, 2020
Meet Detlev Grabs, Mégophias Trois-Rivières
October 7, 2020
Consult the COVID-19 Resource Hub for new information from Dr Steve Keeler.
September 30, 2020
Meet Shane MacMillan, Barrie Trojans Masters Swim Club
September 1, 2020
Welcome to Swimming Canada’s new Masters page. We have responded to the suggestions from 2020 masters survey by creating a more easily navigable web page for you. We will continue to enhance the information found here regularly.
We look forward to hearing from you during the upcoming season.
We swim not to escape life, but so that life doesn’t escape us.
COORDINATOR, MASTERS SWIMMING