Diary • 13th March 1994
• My swimming career began at eleven, introduced to me by my Mom. Taci wasn’t interested in the sport so he didn’t pay much attention to my development. His hopes were in judo and soccer, but that didn’t work out so well. At the time, this was more obvious to Taci than myself. Regardless, my Mom encouraged me. She drove me to practice and attended swim meets. That support isn’t so evident until you look back at the effort required from parents. I still remember my first swim practice. I walked in with Sean Simms, Eric Finstad, and Gareth Jones. They asked me how well I can swim. Unaware of what lay ahead of me, I said that I was a good swimmer. But my first mistake was showing up with no goggles. Within five minutes my eyes were burning from the chlorine, and I was shuffled down to the last lane, with the novices. It was a reality check, and a bump to my ego, but I stuck with it and eventually learned the concept of lanes, direction, and swimming etiquette. I moved to the senior lanes after half a year. Roman joined a few months after me. He was a born breaststroker, thanks to his father, and didn’t have to start from the ground-up, like me. As the months followed, Vlasta, Soňa, and Alica gave it a try as well. Only Vlasta made a teen-career out of the sport.
• Moving to the senior team didn’t just mean moving up the lanes. It meant meeting Morris Vallencourt, the head coach. He was not much of a family man, as the parents would say, but as a coach he was awesome. He taught us discipline, organisation, leadership, passion, concentration, patience, work ethic, dealing with pain, winning and learning from our losses. His resume consisted of coaching the famous Hamilton swim team and several swimmers to national class. He was a mentor in my eyes. On the flip side, many parents had a strong disliking to him. The truth is Morris was not interested in satisfying parental agendas. He only cared about the swimmers. Besides, the political conflicts between the parents and Morris were uninteresting to me. When parents wanted their kids to swim backstroke Morris insisted on freestyle. When a swimmer complained of menstrual cramps Morris said, “Swim it off”. When a swimmer had a bleeding nose, Morris said, “Swim it off”. From my vantage point politics consisted of Morris’s salary and parental meddling into what they felt was best for their kid. Most of the swim team was behind Morris. Looking back, he was truly an wicked coach.
If you missed previous swimming posts, then click on these links:
AAAA Championship, Bruce Law, Burlington Civic Award, Burlington Ontario, Burlington Y Aquatic Club, BYAC, competitive swimming, David Darling, David Murray, dusil.com, Eric Coulson, Eric Finstad, eurostartups.tech, Eva Dusil, Gabriel Dusil, gabrieldusil.com, Gareth Jones, Grant Reffell, Linda Weston, Morris Vaillancourt, Roman Dusil., Sean Simms, Steve Babiak, Swimming, Tracey Colson, Vaclav Dusil, Vašek Dusil, Wayne Kot, YMCA