The closure of Laurentian University’s pool has hit Sudbury Laurentian Swim Club hard, said its head coach.
Dean Henze said the club is swimming out of city pools this season as the Jeno Tihanyi Olympic Gold Pool at Laurentian remains closed to the public during the university’s financial restructuring.
It has greatly impacted the club’s ability to offer the amount of quality pool time for its swimmers.
“The city does not have enough usable pool time for the competitive clubs (times between 3:30-6:30 p.m.),” said Henze. “Our senior swimmers have to train predominantly in the mornings at 6 a.m. This is fairly normal, except we don’t usually have to do it six days per week. It has taken a toll.”
LU is also the only pool that can accommodate the entire region at the same venue, said Henze.
“We typically host three very large competitions for the region, but we are in a holding pattern for now,” Henze said.
Club swimmers are making the best of a bad situation, he said.
“We do have a bit more time in the pool than last year, but it is still not where we want to be, Henze said. “They are optimistic about the return to racing and our ability to train to be ready for when that happens.”
The path towards safe competition will be driven by the Provincial Sport Organization, Swim Ontario, Henze said. It will start with inter-club time trials, then dual meets with one other club, then expand to more "normal" competitions.
In more positive news , while the Sudbury Laurentian Swim Club has a blend of new and old faces, there are two names added to the coaching roster that are sure to turn some heads, said a news release.
Phil Parker and Andrey Tihanyi are definitely big names in swimming, said the club.
Parker has been coaching the Laurentian University Varsity team for almost 20 seasons.
He ran a successful Varsity program and was awarded the Ontario Coach of the Year by Ontario University Athletics until the program was cut in 2021.
Andrey Tihanyi, son of the late Dr. Jeno Tihanyi, for whom the Olympic Gold Pool at Laurentian University was named, is returning to his roots in Sudbury to coach.
Jeno Tihanyi coached Alex Baumann to two gold medals at the Los Angeles Olympics.
Andrey Tihanyi recently was coaching the Newmarket Stingrays and has relocated to his hometown.
Leah Dawson, a varsity swimmer from the North Bay area, is also learning the ropes this season, alongside Henze, who has served as head coach for Canada's Junior National Women's team in 2018 and was awarded Swim Ontario's Coach Service award in 2020.
Other familiar faces on the decks will be Chancy Trottier, Alain Delorme and Lauren Thomas.