UBC makes a splash on national swim programs

Top swimmers from B.C. and Western Canada have gained a new and comprehensive training facility with the designation of the UBC Aquatic Centre as the UBC Thunderbird National Swim Centre.

All the major players in Canadian swimming grouped together with the Commonwealth Centre for Sport Development (CCSD) to create a twin-campus CCSD National Swim Centre at UBC and Saanich's Commonwealth Place near Victoria.

The centre, a unique partnership involving UBC, Pacific Dolphins and Island Swimming, Swimming Natation Canada, Swim B.C. and the CCSD, is aimed at providing training and resources for West Coast athletes and boosting Canadian swimming development.

The Vancouver and Victoria locations will provide top-level services in sport science, sport medicine, career management, education and accommodation for high-performance swimmers in the Victoria and Lower Mainland areas.

Bob Philip, UBC's director of Athletics and Recreation, said UBC's participation as a National Swim Centre will enhance training for UBC swimmers and other competitive swimmers in the province.

"Our vision is to not only do what is in the best interests of our varsity swim program, but to positively contribute to the development of the sport in our community and throughout B.C.," he said.

Tom Johnson, head coach of the UBC Thunderbird swim team, was named Swimming Natation Canada Director of Swimming and Centre Coach of the UBC Thunderbird National Swim Centre. Johnson has also been head coach of the Pacific Dolphin Swim Club since 1979. His responsibilities will be expanded to include coaching the centre's athletes and hiring coaching staff.