Thursday, June 23, 2011

Canadian Swimmers in My Backyard!

It all started by reading Ryan Cochrane's Tweet! June 21, 2011: "Just landed in Toronto. Now on to London! Ontario. (Training for the week)"! I was like what? where, how? I started Googling his name to find out why he is in London, Ontario. At first, it was disappointing. But then, Bingo! I came across London Aquatic Club website with this info: Victoria Swimming Academy head Coach Randy Bennett, who is Canada's Head Coach for this summer's World Championships in Shanghai, China and next year's Olympics in London, will be here in London, Ontario from June 22-29 with 4 of his swimmers for a week-long training camp.  The swimmers are Ryan Cochrane (2008 Olympic bronze medalist), Julia Wilkinson (double bronze medalist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games), Stephanie Horner and Alexa Komarnycky.  All 4 of these swimmers were members of the 2008 Canadian Olympic Team, and have their sights set on London 2012. ....

I made some phone calls to find out how I can meet them. I was shocked when I heard they are training practically in my backyard using the facility in the Thames Park! 
So, today I grabbed my camera, determined to get some pictures with my swimmers :) I expected to be turned away and to end up taking photos like paparazzi from behind the fence. The girl at the counter smiled and said she will ask her manager and let me know. She walked a long distance to get to him. Then he walked to someone else who's back was towards me and talked to him. I said that's it they are training and don't want to be bothered. I saw a one man TV crew with a mic standing there too pacing around with his cell phone. But then the manager came in and said: Randy says it's ok! WOW, That was coach Randy Bennett. YEP! Got in. Of course, me being a sociable creature and kind of excited cut him right off when he was talking to Julia! I said: oh, It's me BellaBehold from twitter and she gave me her biggest smile and being so receptive of me being there intruding in between the coach's instructions. Sorry Coach Randy :) 
Then I saw Ryan swimming. And of course Stephanie and Alexa! What an amazing, friendly, welcoming group of swimmers. They let me stay around to take pictures and chatted a bit. Everyone wanted to know what's my interest in swimming and of course I  go back to 2008 and how I created "Michael Phelps News and Events" and "Open Water Swim News and Events", and how I have lots of Olympian swimmers as my friends and I support them and cheer them on. Of course, I did not tell them that I don't have Facebook for now (another blog will come in a few days again!). They were a bit surprised to see the enthusiasm I had for them. I guess it's the Canadian way, very laid back. I expected to see at least some kind of gathering of people asking for autographs, and what not but NO. Business as usual, people were doing their own thing and here I am super excited that I have met some of my Olympian swimmers and now have a chance to have photo taken with them. Canada has a long way to go to bring swimming into main stream in terms of promoting it to public. 
I asked coach Randy why London? As soon as he was telling me why, I quietly said to myself I should have come up with that answer myself! It makes sense to go from Santa Clara to London and then head to Montreal! 

I'd like to thank the staff at the London Aquatic Club for directing me to Thames Park, and the staff at the park, the coach, and my Olympian swimmers for letting me have a chance to meet with them and capture some memories. Good luck in Montreal, Shanghai, in between, and London 2012! Cheering you on!

Who knew I could meet Ryan Cochrane in my own backyard!

Support your athletes by following them on Twitter or becoming fan of their pages. 

Ryan Cochrane:   
Julia Wikinson:    
Alexa Komarnycky:  

Happy Olympic Day ! June 23rd!

I'll be adding any links relevant to above swimmers here gradually :)
1. Stacking Up At Santa Clara

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