OTTAWA – A homegrown coach will bring new energy to his role as a senior leader in Swimming Canada’s High Performance Paralympic program.
National Para-swimming Performance Coach Vince Mikuska is being promoted to the new role of Senior Coach Paralympic Program.
“We’re very excited to have Vince take on this role as part of our technical leadership team,” said Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “We have strong, aggressive goals for the future. He’s a veteran of the Canadian system, and he will be providing great leadership to our Paralympic program.”
Mikuska, from Chilliwack, B.C., has been with Swimming Canada since 2013. He was part of the coaching staff for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games team that won eight medals last year. He was also a staff coach at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, the 2013 and 2015 IPC World Championships in Montreal and Glasgow, and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“I’m looking to help us take a dynamic step forward from the direction we’ve established over the last few years,” Mikuska said. “The key areas we want to focus on are professionalism, technical reliability, mindfulness, and focus on the process. We are looking forward to rebuilding the program at all levels moving through the rest of the quad to Tokyo 2020 and beyond.”
Mikuska was the coach of 1996 and 2000 Paralympian and former world-record holder Bob Penner. He was also an assistant coach on the Canadian staff at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia, and the 2011 Parapan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
He will report to High Performance Director John Atkinson in the new role, and serve as head coach at major international meets in consultation with Atkinson and Senior Manager High Performance Para-swimming Programs James Hood. The key competitive focus for the coming season will be the IPC Swimming World Championships in Mexico City Sept. 29 – Oct. 6.
Mikuska will be tasked with applying a consistent approach to the technical standard developed and delivered across all programs. He will oversee programs, plans, budgets and camps, including podium target camps and sport class camps for the senior team. He will be the lead at the annual Start-Up Camp for carded athletes, and also make recommendations for integrated/combined camps that may include NextGen Camps, Sport Class 1-5 Camps and development athletes where appropriate.
He will make regular visits to identified carded athletes and clubs, as well as the Para-swimming Intensive Training Program, mentoring and providing individual performance coaching for key coaches. Other duties include establishing and leading a Performance Coach Forum to provide leadership, direction and challenge to technical coach standards development for Swimming Canada.
“We are delighted with the appointment of Vince Mikuska into this position. He brings a wealth of experience from performance swimming in Canada and this will serve him well in this position,” Atkinson said. “He has worked within the Canadian Para-swimming program as the Performance Coach for nearly four years and he has shown his abilities in working with coaches and swimmers across Canada. I know Vince will now show the same dedication leading the technical areas of the Para-swimming program.”
A graduate of the University of Manitoba and Simon Fraser University, Mikuska’s coaching experience also includes 13 years at the Spartan Swim Club in Chilliwack, and four years as provincial coach at Swim British Columbia. He was also 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Brent Hayden’s coach at the age group level.