OTTAWA Swimming Canada is pleased to announce Vince Mikuska as the new national Para-swimming Performance Coach.
Mikuska will work closely with Para-swimming National Coach Craig McCord to further strengthen Canada's chances of reaching the podium at Paralympic Games and World Championships. He has hands-on experience at major international games, including as the coach of 1996 and 2000 Paralympian and former world-record holder Bob Penner. Mikuska was an assistant coach on the Canadian staff at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, Australia and the 2011 Parapan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
"Vince has a very good, solid background in athlete development and his technical background is excellent," said McCord. "I'm very excited about it. It brings another really high-quality technical and experienced coach into the Paralympic side of swimming and it's going to make our Paralympic team significantly stronger as we move towards to Rio."
The resident of Chilliwack, B.C., will be leaving a position at Swim British Columbia, where he has served as provincial coach for since 2009. His role will focus on identifying and developing Para-swimmers to compete and win at the international level, as well as developing coaches to a world-class level.
"I'm looking forward to the focused high-performance part of the position," said Mikuska. "I'm just really excited about an opportunity to get back on the deck in an expanded role."
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. He was also 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Brent Hayden's coach at the age group level.
"Vince is an elite hire, he's a quality individual and has a profound scope of technical knowledge. His recent experience as Provincial Coach in BC provides him with a skill set necessary to progress our Para development system," said Swimming Canada Interim CEO Ken Radford.
Mikuska is known for his contributions to British Columbia teams at Canada Games and Western Canada Games, including head coach roles at both. Swim BC Executive Director Mark Schuett wished Mikuska well on his new appointment.
"While we at Swim BC are happy for Vince and his move into a role at Swimming Canada, which will see him shepherding the next crop of national- and international-level athletes to the 2016 and 2020 Paralympics, we of course will miss his many contributions to fostering the development of Swim BC's swimmers and coaches," Schuett said.
Mikuska will begin his new position on July 29, and will be heading straight to the national team's staging camp in Gatineau, Que., as they prepare to host the IPC World Swimming Championships in Montreal from Aug. 12 to 18.