VICTORIA – Following a successful season that saw program athletes reach the podium on the international stage, the NextGen Swimming program in Victoria will undergo a facelift with the introduction of a younger 2016-17 roster.
NextGen Coach and CSI Pacific staff member Brad Dingey enters his second year with the program and leads one of the youngest groups in recent memory. The 2016-17 Swimming NextGen roster comprises five swimmers averaging 16 years old, two years younger than last year’s average age.
The program, which works in association with the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Victoria, will also feature three swimmers with hometowns in British Columbia.
“We have a young and energetic group of athletes this year who are determined to be part of the next generation of swimming excellence in Canada and onto the world stage,” said Dingey. “The entire group is focused on building off of last season’s incredible performances and improving every day.”
Swimming NextGen athletes made huge strides during the 2015-16 season with two swimmers getting the opportunity to suit up for Team Canada. After posting strong times at the Canadian Olympic & Para-swimming Trials, Sarah Darcel and Josh Zakala qualified to represent Canada in August at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Maui. Both proved more than up to the task against some of the world’s top up-and-coming swimmers, as Darcel returned with a gold and two silver medals, and Zakala with a bronze medal. Darcel was also selected to her first senior team, earning a spot at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Windsor, Ont.
Darcel, 17, will now transition from CSI Pacific’s Swimming NextGen to the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Victoria, joining Olympic medallists Ryan Cochrane and Hilary Caldwell, among other senior team members.
“I came into the NextGen program being the youngest and least experienced swimmer out of everyone but that only pushed me harder. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and mentality that the staff and athletes brought to the pool day in and day out: it was very motivating and inspiring,” Darcel said. “It had always been a goal of mine to join the centre, especially this year, because the centres around the country tend to be the places that produce the best swimmers and how much luckier could I be that there was one here with such familiar faces.
“The support team in Victoria is absolutely amazing and so are the athletes and the coaching. This is the exact kind of environment where world-class swimming meets its peak.”
The Swimming NextGen program was created to ensure a progressive stream of athletes are being trained to the standards required to win Olympic, Paralympic and World Championship medals in the sport of swimming.
NextGen athletes are provided the fundamental support to further their athletic goals, which will include sport-specific coaching, sport specific facility access, and sport medicine and sport science services. The program is delivered in partnership between Own The Podium, the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Victoria, Swim BC, the Province of British Columbia, and CSI Pacific.
2016-17 Swimming NextGen Athletes:
|Jade Hannah||Halifax, NS||Chris Stone|
|Faith Knelson||Ladysmith, BC||Dusan Toth-Szabo|
|Mackenzie Paddington||Campbell River, BC||Brad Dingey (NextGen coach) / Darryl Rudolf|
|Joshua Young||Red Deer, AB||Mandi Smith|
|Josh Zakala||Kelowna, BC||Brad Dingey (NextGen coach) / Peter Wilkins|