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Swimming Canada – Six young athletes are in South Africa for a two-week Race Train Race Tour as part of Swimming Canada’s strategy to develop a culture of distance swimming in Canada.

Canadian men finished 1 through 4 in the kickoff race Friday, while Canadians took the top two spots on the women’s side. Alexander Pratt of Calgary’s Cascade Swim Club led the pack for the men, while Marit Anderson of Calgary Patriots was the women’s winner.

“The first lap was pretty easy but then it picked up a lot and I thought no, I can win. I liked it, it was fun,” Pratt said.

“They’ve been taught the same tactics, so it made for an exciting finish. They all did well but still have plenty to learn,” said Swimming Canada Distance/Open Water Coach Mark Perry. “This event gives us a good grasp before next weekend’s Midmar Mile.”

The group will continue training in Durban under the guidance of Perry and Cascade Head Coach Dave Johnson. The philosophy behind the Race Train Race format is to allow swimmers to race a short open water race, and be given personal race analysis instantly before training to correct any mistakes and tactical errors made. They will then have the opportunity to improve their performance next weekend in the World’s largest open water race, the 2018 Midmar Mile.

“It gives us the perfect environment to get a solid block of work in where the best of the next generation can go head-to-head every day and receive plenty of one-to-one attention. I’m excited to see how they race and how we get stronger each time we compete.” Perry said.

The team will have access to constant video feedback and individual coaching to help refine their technique for the upcoming races on Feb. 10 and 11.

“I’d like to see them on the podium, but the main aim of the trip is to keep learning, keep improving and prepare them for the challenges ahead,” Perry said.

As part of Swimming Canada’s strategy to continue developing the open water program, various tours and events have been implemented to provide different experiences and growth to the next generation of distance swimmers.

“It’s really exciting to see how we are now starting to develop a generation of distance athletes that see open water as an extension of their event base and something that they are keen to learn more about,” Perry said. “The swimmers are getting an array of experience from pool events to exposure to different open water activities.”

“The world has significantly changed in open water even since the 2012 Olympic Games and we are seeing a shift in the athletes’ ability to swim fast at the end of 10 kilometres, not just swim 10 kilometres. This camp will be addressing current issues athletes and coaches need to address in training and in the race,” said Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson.

“Experiences such as this for the athletes and their coaches are critical for the development of distance and open water swimming in Canada. Through the support of Own the Podium and NextGen funding this activity was possible and will contribute significantly to our athletes’ development,” Atkinson added.



Mark Perry


Bette El-Hawary


Mark Perry


Dave Johnson


Graham Olson



Name – Nom


Personal Coach – Entraineur personnel

Marit Anderson

Calgary Patriots

Kevin Coulman

Emma O’Croinin

Edmonton Keyano

Chris Nelson

Alexander Katelnikoff


Dave Johnson

Alexander Pratt


Dave Johnson

Ryley McRae

Kamloops Classic

Brad Dalke

Raben Dommann


Patrick Paradis

Nathan White

Senior manager, Communications, Swimming Canada

Gestionnaire supérieur des communications, Natation Canada

t. +1 613-260-1348 x2002 | m. +1 613-866-7946 |