Swimming in style

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Wilfrid Laurier’s swim team will be welcoming a little bit more experience to the squad this year, in the form of new assistant coach Joe Bartoch.

Bartoch brings with him experience from ten years on Canada’s national swim team and two appearances at the Olympics, including the London 2012 games.

He will help coach not only the Golden Hawks swim team, but also the local Region of Waterloo (ROW) swim club.

“I was ready to move on,” said Bartoch of his athletic retirement. “It’s hard to push at that level for so long. So I was ready to move on physically, maybe not ready to give it up mentally but that’s something I’ll have to adjust to.”

Bartoch ended his career in style, as Canada finished eighth in the Men’s 4×100 medley relay at the 2012 London Games.

“For my last race, to get to do it with Scott [Dickens] and Brent [Hayden] was special. I’ve known Scott since I was ten years old. I’ve been racing with Brent since 2006. To race with both of them was a great experience,” he said.

Now, the butterfly specialist from London, Ont. is focusing his attention on coaching, as he is currently weeks away from completing a masters in kinesiology and coaching from Western University.

Bartoch said the opportunity to coach in Waterloo came at the perfect time. He was informed of the opportunity by former teammate, and ROW swim club member, Keith Beavers.

After meeting with current head coach Russ Franklin and talking with former head coach Dean Boles, Bartoch decided this was the perfect situation to begin his coaching career at Laurier.

“I’m excited to start off and get a good foundation here,” he said. “I would like it to be a long term thing, because I do like working with this age group. Right now it’s about getting my feet wet, because there is a lot of things you want to get done.”

Bartoch believes his experiences at different levels of swimming will help his coaching style.

“I’ve been through a few systems now; OUA, NCAA and Canada’s national team. Because of my schooling, I’m always evaluating and taking little pieces from each of these programs,” he said.

Bartoch has been handling Monday night practices and gives credit to fellow assistant coach Roberto Aburto for handling Tuesdays and Thursdays.

In terms of Laurier’s team this year, Bartoch is not sure what to expect.

The program is welcoming a number of new faces since last season, after recruiting 14 new swimmers this October.

Bartoch also said he was surprised by how many swimmers have turned out this year.

In terms of faces to watch, Lukas Summerhayes leads the group. Summerhayes was the team’s most valuable player last season and already has a second-place finish in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Spirit Invitational hosted by the University of Guelph.

Other strong performances are expected from Veronica Davis-Freeman, Renee Dijk and Victoria Rawn.

With Franklin in only his second year coaching at Laurier and the program in a transition period, Bartoch said it is important to let Franklin establish his plan before he can start adding.

“To really build a strong program it can’t happen over one year, it takes time,” Bartoch concluded.

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