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Our Turn To Win


Neil Harvey

An interview with Pacific Dolphin Swim Association head coach Tom Johnson

SWIMNEWS: How do you feel about winning the team championship here?
Tom Johnson: It's a good feeling. We've been hunting the men's championship for three years now. Last year we lost by 15 points and by 13 the year before. So it's our turn this time and we've worked hard for it.

SN: What are some keys to the progress your club has made?
TJ: We've got great kids. The program has really matured over the past seven years. We've had some great leadership out of Eddie Parenti. Some of the younger ones have really grown with him. It's a good feeling to see these kids grow.

SN: Where did you start?
TJ: We began with the women's program because it can get going much faster. We've won the women's title for the past three years. Now the men are coming into their own. We've been very systematic about the program and worked the plan well. It began seven years ago and this is the deserved result. The high performance centre program was designed to produce podium level performances and allow the club to compete successfully for this win.

SN: Are there any new prospects you'd like to mention?
TJ: Tamee Ebert has a lot of potential. She rides very high on the water and she's very tough. When she competes she handles it well and she's got speed too. She can swim the 100 under a minute! I am really pleased for her here.

Iron lady performance from Jessica Deglau
For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

SN: How was Jessica Deglau in the 200 fly? (Tied Canadian record)
TJ: She was a bit slower than what we were looking for, but it was a very good swim since she was on her own like that. She got out under the record at the 100, then lost a bit on the third 50 but brought it back very well. She is a great racer, and we've been working hard to get her out in 62 low. She's getting close to having the speed.

SN: How have you managed to keep your swimmers through this process of seven years development?
TJ: The real key is they are all having fun swimming. Keith Bell has been a very positive influence on the team. He has provided a framework and a philosophy that the kids can really support. Coming to the pool every day is fun, and if it is not, they are working hard to make it fun. There is no grief given, and no excuses. They just enjoy the sport. That environment really contributes to the swimmers wanting to stay around.

After hearing Tom Johnson credit Eddie Parenti with a leadership role in the success of the team, Eddie replied, "During the Olympic year I swam for myself, I was very focussed. This year I stayed on because I enjoyed being here. We have a great bunch of swimmers. I teach as much as I can because I wanted to help, and giving that back made a difference. We have a really tight team and we really wanted this one."

How many races did he swim this weekend? (long pause)... "Nineteen."

Eddie's the Leader for sure.

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