testKKKD Updated - Announcing OAS's 2019 Provincial Teams Coaching Staff - Ontario Artistic Swimming Body

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Ontario Artistic Swimming is pleased to announce the 2019 Provincial Team Coaching Staff who will be leading our teams this summer. This year will be one of our busiest Provincial Team programs ever, as we will field a 13-15 Team, Junior Team, and two 11-12 Teams. Ontario will be represented by various teams at both the SYNC Invitational in Gatineau (July 17-21th), and at the UANA Pan American Championships in Windsor, Ontario (August 20-24th).

Below are the coaches that will be leading each of the teams this summer:

Junior Provincial Team Coaches
Head Coach – Courtney Durand
Assistant Coach – Alyssia Leithwood

13-15 Provincial Team Coaches
Head Coach – Julia Maclean (Provincial Teams Lead for summer 2019)
Assistant Coach – Sarah Birkbeck

11-12 High Performance (HP) Team & Development Team (DT) Coaches
SYNC (July) Coaching Staff:
Head Coach – Brooke Whitney
Assistant Coach – Rhiannon Major
Assistant Coach – Jackee King
Assistant Coach – Alyssia Leithwood

UANA (August) Coaching Staff:
Head Coach – Julia Maclean will oversee the 11-12 HP Team at UANA
Assistant Coach – Rhiannon Major
Assistant Coach – Adriana Ermter

Provincial Teams Leader
In addition to the positions noted above, Julia Maclean will be acting as the 2019 Provincial Teams Leader for the duration of the summer programming. In this role, Julia will be the lead mentor coach and a key resource and support for the entire coaching staff in the planning and implementation of team programming.

Please see below for bios of the 2019 coaching staff:




COURTNEY DURAND (Junior Head Coach for UANA)

Courtney has been involved in the sport of artistic swimming for over 20 years as both a coach and an athlete. She is the Head Coach of Granite Artistic Swimming and works primarily with the 13-15 and Junior High Performance athletes.  As a coach, she loves to develop new and innovative ideas in routines and drills to help swimmers progress in the sport. Courtney believes that the most successful athletes come from a well-balanced environment with focuses on technical improvement, strong work ethic, positive reinforcement and clear feedback.

ALYSSIA LEITHWOOD (Junior Assistant Coach for UANA)  
Alyssia’s artistic swimming career started at Mississauga Synchronized Swimming Association where she swam with them at all different levels for 8 years until she graduated from high school and went off to university. Alyssia has been coaching this sport competitively for the past 5 years and is very excited to expand her knowledge of the sport at this level. Alyssia’s most proud memory of being a coach is when her swimmers who had never swam at this high of a level all achieved personal bests in both figures and routine at their final competition. Alyssia brings a positive attitude, dedication and a passion for artistic swimming. Her coaching philosophy is “not everybody is perfect, but achieving even a little personal best everyday goes a long way in the end.” Alyssia looks forward to a successful season and to share her dedication and drive for this amazing sport. 


JULIA MACLEAN (13-15 Team Head Coach, overseeing 11-12 HP Team at UANA, Provincial Teams Leader)
Julia Maclean is a former Canadian National Team member, who began coaching in 2009. Since retiring as an athlete, Julia has been committed to coaching, and helping to create the next generation of great Ontario athletes. This will be Julia’s 10th consecutive summer working with various Ontario Provincial Teams. Julia is a Competition Development Certified coach and works at the Variety Village Synchro Club. She has the honour of having an award named after her because of her many accomplishments as an athlete. Julia believes in encouraging the athletes she trains with to have a strong work ethic but also in helping them work towards achieving their highest potential as individuals. Ultimately leading the athletes to be successful both in and out of the water.

SARAH BIRKBECK (13-15 Team Assistant Coach for SYNC & UANA)   
Sarah’s artistic swimming career started off at a small recreational club in Okotoks Alberta, which developed her love for the sport. When Sarah was 11 years old, she decided to be more competitive and therefore started training with the Calgary Aquabelles until she graduated from high school. The highlight of Sarah’s artistic swimming career would be when she 15 years old and represented Canada at the 2012 Caribbean Island Swimming Championships. She placed first in the team event and fourth in duet. Sarah started attending Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario in 2014 and began coaching to pass on her passion for the sport. Sarah coaches for the Kawartha Trent Synchro Club and Trent Synchro, and has held executive positions with Trent Synchro throughout her undergraduate degree. Sarah is looking forward to the opportunity to work with Ontario Artistic Swimming this summer as she continues to develop as a coach and pass on her passion for the sport.


BROOKE WHITNEY (11-12 Teams Head Coach at SYNC)
Brooke Whitney is a Competition Development NCCP Certified Coach, and currently works with GO Capital Synchro as the Lead Competitive coach, in addition to coaching their 13-15 High Performance program. Brooke has worked with Synchro Swim Ontario’s T2T and L2T programs as a guest expert coach since 2016. She was involved in Ontario’s Provincial Teams program as an Assistant Coach in 2014 (10&Under) and 2016 (13-15). In the summer of 2016, she coached the Ontario-Quebec combined Combo that took home silver at UANA in Puerto Rico. In 2017, Brooke was the Head Coach of the 11-12 Provincial Team which won gold in Team, Duet and Solo at the SYNC Invitational in Edmonton. Last summer she was the Head Coach of the 13-15 Provincial Team which won gold in Team and Duet at the SYNC Invitational in Toronto, and also attend UANA in Riverside California.

RHIANNON MAJOR (11-12 Assistant Coach for SYNC & UANA)

Rhiannon is currently the 13-15 FINA Team Lead and Club Manager for Chaco Artistic Swimming. She began coaching in 2013 after retiring as an athlete due to a knee injury. Rhiannon was involved with the Provincial Team Program in 2016 and 2018, as both an apprentice coach and assistant coach. Rhiannon has finished her last year of studies in Massage Therapy and uses her knowledge in physical therapy to design specific training programs that helped Chaco’s national program become one of the top teams in the country. Rhiannon’s goal in coaching is to develop all-around athletes that not only excel in synchronized swimming but also take those skills into life.

JACKEE KING (11-12 Assistant Coach for SYNC)

Jackee has been involved with Artistic Swimming for more than 15 years, first as an athlete and now as a coach. As an athlete, Jackee trained and competed at the National and International level, winning numerous awards including Senior Solo Champion awards in 2012 and 2013. Jackee has also competed extensively as a masters athlete, and was part of the Toronto Synchro Masters Team that won Gold in the Tech and Free Masters Team events at the 2018 Pan American Masters Championships in Orlando, Florida. Jackee began her coaching career in 2011 and since then she has trained athletes of all ages and levels. Last year she was named 2018 Synchro Swim Ontario Coach of the Year and her 13-15 Provincial Team claimed many of the top 6 podium finishes at different meets across Ontario. Jackee is a Competition Development NCCP Certified Coach and she trains athletes in 11-12 and 13-15 age categories at Granite Artistic Swimming. Jackee’s coaching style is goal oriented with a philosophy to improve one percent in every attempt and to be better than yesterday.

ALYSSIA LEITHWOOD (11-12 Assistant Coach for SYNC)

*See bio above

ADRIANA ERMTER (11-12 Assistant Coach for UANA)
Adriana Ermter is an NCCP Level III coach who swam for the Calgary Aquabelles before coaching the Junior A team for Killarney Synchro, volunteer coaching Calgary Special Olympics, and driving awareness for the sport as Alberta Synchro’s provincial summer coach. After moving to Toronto in the ’90s, Adriana worked for Olympium Synchro as a Junior A and 12&U coach, leading her teams to win multiple gold medals at the Provincial and Trillium levels. Now, after an extended break from the sport as an award-winning editor and writer, Adriana joined Toronto Synchro in 2018. She has since led two of the club’s competitive 12&U athletes to qualify for Trilliums and potential placement on the Provincial 11-12 Team.