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Swimming Canada – TORONTO – National Para-swimming Head Coach Craig McCord announced Tuesday he will be stepping down after the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Rio will be McCord’s fourth Paralympics and after 12 years at the helm of Canada’s Para-swimming program he feels it is time to move on.

“It’s not an easy decision but it’s an easier decision because the organization is healthy and the leadership is solid. It’s a good time,” McCord said. 

The native of Glasgow, Scotland, took the Swimmers With A Disability post in 2004 and has seen it grow to a full-time staff of five from two, while Para-sport’s prominence has grown exponentially in Canada.

“It’s probably one of the best departments in the world. Now it’s time for somebody else to take the keys to the car,” McCord said. “It’s been nice to watch how the country has embraced Para-swimming. We’re seeing more (club) programs engaged in Para-swimming and more involvement across the country.”

At the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, he guided the Canadian team to 16 medals. The 54-year-old from Richmond, B.C., listed several career highlights. Among them were watching Walter Wu win the final gold medal of his career in Athens 2004, McCord’s first Games at the helm. Others included a Canadian sweep of the podium in the in the S13 100-m butterfly in Beijing 2008, and coaching two Canadian flag-bearers in Donovan Tildesley (Beijing) and Benoit Huot (London 2012).

“Craig McCord has been an integral part of Canadian swimming and a true leader in the Paralympic swimming movement,” said James Hood, Senior Manager, High Performance Para-swimming Programs for Swimming Canada. “He has been a great visionary and proponent for high performance sport, which has led to its growth both here and abroad. His influence in the organization has been from grassroots to high performance and without him the sport would not have made the advancements that it has. 

“He is a true leader and a life long student of the sport and will be sorely missed.”

McCord’s memorable moments include a national television appearance helping Rick Mercer into a polyurethane suit at the 2008 Beijing Games.

McCord will maintain his position on the International Paralympic Committee’s Competition and Programming Committee as he seeks new challenges in the sport world.

“I was lucky enough to be presented opportunities to grow as a coach, a person and a sport professional and lucky enough to travel the world everywhere except Antarctica,” McCord said. “I have the utmost gratitude to the organization for the past 12 years for supporting the program. Many people out there have contributed to my growth and I owe a debt of thanks for what they’ve given me over the 12 years. 

Nathan White

Communications manager, Swimming Canada

Gestionnaire, communications, Natation Canada 
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