The Richmond Hill Aquatic Club (RHAC) was established in 1971 by a dedicated group of volunteer parents who were interested in promoting competitive swimming in the Richmond Hill area. The Club started with a handful of athletes, and trained only a few months of the year. Since then, many changes have occurred within RHAC, notably the employment of Head Coach Konstantin Danailov in 2007. Coach Konstantin brought on a team of skilled and dedicated coaches who have worked together to make RHAC into the club that it is today (for detailed information on each coach, please view the coaches list).
Coach Konstantin, as well as the dedicated staff of coaches, employed a strategy of development based around the Olympic four year cycle. This method of long term planning allowed for predictions, structured growth, and expansion. During the first complete cycle of 2008-2012, RHAC grew from a local swim team to a nationally recognized swim club.
Beginning in the 2007-2008 season, RHAC had one qualifier for the Eastern Championships. Kourosh Ahani’s best performance during that year was 48th at Eastern Cup. In 2008, Kourosh also medalled twice at Age Group Nationals, with one silver and one bronze.
During the 2008-2009 season, RHAC changed the requirements for its higher performing groups. The new selections in addition to the previous accumulation of training from the 2007-2008 season started to show results immediately. For the 2008-2009 season, RHAC quadrupled its qualifiers for the Eastern Championship to four. Kourosh Ahani also placed first and second at Easterns that year. In 2009, Kourosh was also RHAC’s first Senior National qualifier. At Age Group Nationals, RHAC continued with two medals, as Kourosh and Justin Fedorowski came third in their respective events.
For the 2009-2010 season, RHAC continued to grow steadily by adding a dedicated dryland facility, and an additional 13 hours of pool time. As a result of the improved program, RHAC’s Eastern Championship qualifiers went from four to ten. Kourosh still managed to place third at Easterns, and Victoria Chan won a silver medal. For Spring Senior Nationals, RHAC tripled its qualifiers to three: Kourosh Ahani, Eric Dolan, and Victoria Chan. At Age Group Nationals, RHAC brought a very strong team of 19 swimmers, and started to become recognized on the podium. Victoria Chan won three first place medals while Justin Fedorowski and Zachary Fitzgerald each won a silver medal. For Summer Senior Nationals, RHAC expanded to four qualifiers with the addition of Jennifer Trung. For the first time, RHAC swimmers were also recognized by Swim Ontario and Swim Canada, and were selected for international meets. Zachary Fitzgerald was selected for the North American Challenge Cup, and Kourosh Ahani was chosen to represent Canada in the Junior Pan Pacific Championship. Kourosh went on to win a silver medal in the 4x100 medley relay at the Junior Pan Pacific Championship.
In the 2010-2011 season, RHAC redesigned its dryland program based upon a two year plan. It also continued with increased pool time and added new coaching staff. The Eastern Championship qualifiers list grew to twelve, with Kourosh winning two bronze medals. At Spring Nationals, Victoria Chan also made her first A-final. In Montreal for Age Group Nationals, Victoria won two medals, and for the first time, RHAC medalled in a relay. A team of Melissa Pocsai, Gemma Regan, Victoria Radounski and Victoria Chan placed second in the 4x50 freestyle relay. Victoria Chan was then selected to represent Canada at the Junior World Championships, and placed second aspart of the 4x 200 freestyle relay.
The dividends of the improved dryland and increased pool time started to pay off in the 2011-2012 season. The accumulated training that was added in 2010 showed as early as the Eastern Championships. At Easterns, RHAC had 13 qualifiers, with Kimberly Phan winning a silver and bronze. RHAC also qualified three Senior National candidates at Easterns. For Olympic Trials, RHAC had six qualifiers. Kourosh placed second, barely missing the berth to race in London 2012. His race also made him the top seed in Canadafor 100 butterfly after the Olympics. At Summer Nationals, RHAC increased its team to seven qualifiers, and two medals. Both Kourosh and Victoria reached the podium. Age Group Nationals expanded to 25 qualifiers, and saw the most amount of medals in RHAC history. Victoria Chan won three medals, one of which was gold, Kimberly Phan won a gold and a bronze, and Victor Skvortsov won a gold.The 4x50 freestyle relay team also improved from second to first with a team of Victoria Chan, Melissa Pocsai, Kimberly Phan and Nina Varah. RHAC finished Age Group Nationals with three Canadian Champions and one relay championship. Victoria Chan was selected to represent Canada as part of the Junior Pan Pacific Championship at the end of the season, and won two medals in the 4x100 medley and 4x100 freestyle relays.
In the first official Olympic cycle, RHAC developed from one Eastern Championship qualifier to seven active Senior National Qualifiers (nine total), multiple Canadian Age Group Champions, Pan Pacific and Junior World Championship medalists, Senior National Medalists, and even a top Canadian seed. The program set in motion in 2008 was even more successful than originally expected.
Going forward, the next Olympic cycle is expected to be just as exciting for RHAC. As a result of the success from the 2011-2012 season, RHAC groups have now been restructured to include asenior group—those who qualify for Senior National level and above. The training at the top levels of RHAC will intensify, and the program will allow for a more accurate prescription of difficulty for all levels of swimmers thanks to the new groups. In 2012 alone, RHAC increased its pool time by an additional 11 hours, and added more eight more hours of dryland.
RHAC is predicted to increase its active Senior National Qualifier count by as early as March 2013, as well as increase its qualifiers for international meets. RHAC’s Age Group National team will continue to grow, and the performance will filter down to the lower levels, so that RHAC performs better at regional meets as well.
The next phase of development for RHAC is a university program that will allow swimmers to continue with RHAC while studying for a post-secondary degree. This will further enhance the RHAC program as faster and more dedicated swimmers will be joining and continuing to swim with the ever-expanding RHAC program.
RHAC Mission Statement
The Richmond Hill Aquatic Club is a competitive swim club with a development model that ends at the Olympic level. All groups are progressions to the Senior level where swimmers are expected to perform above an age group level. RHAC aims to develop swimmers to perform to their potential. The Club philosophy of growing Novice swimmers into Olympians follows the LTAD model provided by Swimming Canada, and uses an ever-expanding pool of knowledge by trained coaches to offer swimmers the best program possible.
All swimmers in RHAC must have the desire to improve and eventually enter the Senior group so that they can compete at the Senior National level. Swimmers need to have an open mind and be willing to learn within the RHAC program. Swimmers must adhere to the program of the particular group to which they belong entirely.
Coaching staff promises to offer the best and most intensive program possible, and will always go above and beyond the call of duty to see swimmers improve, under the condition that the swimmers want to improve within the program. Coaches volunteer extra time to those who show additional desire to improve. Coaching staff always puts in a reciprocal amount of effort that the athlete demonstrates, and always offers the opportunity for swimmers to advance, given their desire to do so.
Senior Group - Objective
The Senior group is the highest performing group in RHAC. Its primary purpose is to develop athletes to race and win beyond age group meets. The Senior group works towards making Olympic qualifiers, World Championship Qualifiers and Canadian National Champions.
Coaching staff spends additional time to develop athletes technically, mentally and physically through advanced training methods, services and equipment not offered to any other group.
Athletes in the Senior group are expected to perform to the highest standards. They are expected to work towards their short and long term goals on a daily basis, and be role models for the remainder of the club. Senior athletes must have the desire to improve and strive for the highest level of competition.
National Group - Objective
The National group is the second highest performing group in RHAC. Its primary purpose is to develop athletes to race and win beyond age group meets. The National group works towards making Senior National Qualifiers.
Coaching staff spends additional time to develop athletes technically, mentally and physically through advanced training methods.
Athletes in the National group are expected to perform to the highest standards. They are expected to work towards their short and long term goals on a daily basis, and be role models for the remainder of the club. National athletes must have the desire to improve and strive for the highest level of competition.
Provincial 1 Group - Objective
The Provincial group is a developmental group for athletes who have the desire to one day become high performance swimmers. Provincial athletes are part of the 'train to train' phase of the Long Term Athlete Development model. Performance at practice is more valued than performance at meets so that the athletes can develop properly.
Coaches make practices that appeal to both the Provincial and National groups regularly to help grow Provincial athletes under the model of the National swimmers. The coaching staff spends more time on work ethic during practice with Provincial athletes to instill in them the fundamentals of training that are expected in the National group.
Athletes in the provincial group are expected to be open to coaching, and show a desire to learn. While their performance is not held to the same standard of National athletes, Provincial swimmers are still expected to try their best at every practice with the goal of improving competitively. In addition to attending as many practices as possible to try for 100 percent attendance, Provincial athletes need to actively try to develop to become National group athletes.
Provincial 2 Group - Objective
Provincial 2 is a group that introduces athletes aged over 12 to training and competitive swimming. As a development group before the Provincial level, Provincial 2 introduces the 'Learn to Train' model to athletes. They are taught the importance of a regular training regime and introduced to a demanding program.
Coaches work on keeping a fun but competitive environment with the athletes in an effort to motivate them to improve. They spend a lot of time instructing swimmers on the values of competition; they teach athletes the methods which allow them to be successful in the Provincial group.
Swimmers are expected to attend practices and attentively try to apply the instruction given by coaching staff. The instruction in Provincial Development differs from that in the National and Provincial groups as it focuses a lot on the elementary aspects of how to begin to compete effectively. Swimmers have the responsibility to try implementing the aforementioned strategies in order to move up to the Provincial group.
Youth Group - Objective
The Youth group offers a highly competitive program for swimmers under the age of 14. Athletes are exposed to a program that will directly prepare them for the challenges in the Provincial and National group. This occurs through a high volume of swimming, difficult practices, high expectation at meets, and discipline. Many Youth swimmers qualify for Age Group Provincial and National time standards. Similar to the Provincial 2 group, but at a younger age, swimmers learn the importance of practice and self-discipline. They are taught to appreciate competition, and see merit in high performance athletics.
Coaches work on all aspects of athletics with Youth swimmers, and develop stroke technique, mental and physical strength, behaviour, and attitude.
Athletes are expected to attend all practices, regardless of age, and participate actively in the program offered to them so that they can improve. Athletes that have the immediate desire to swim competitively and follow all the instructions of the coaches, as well as complete all the prerequisites may move up into the Senior or National group to further their swimming career. Athletes that have not developed as far under the competitive model but still wish to one day swim to their full potential in the Senior group, and understand the Provincial and National Mission Statements, may move up to the Provincial 2 Group.
Select Group - Objective
The Select group is a continuation to the introductory competitive program. Athletes learn the basics of stroke technique and are made familiar with racing.
Coaches spend time having fun with swimmers while developing important skills needed for the future of the sport.
Athletes are expected to want to swim. They are expected to attend morning practices in addition to afternoon ones to prepare for the workload in later groups.
Novice Group - Objective
The Novice group is the first and most basic level of competitive swimming that RHAC offers. Athletes are taught how to commit to practices long term, and at shown the very beginnings of swimming and racing.
Coaches treat Novice swimmers as the earliest athletes on the LTAD. Many aspects of the Novice group involve learning to swim effectively. Other skills such as learning to use a pace clock are also taught.
Coaching staff focuses on early child development models in sport with Novice. They teach and coach so that athletes develop appropriately within the group.
Athletes are expected to be excited for practice and listen attentively to the coach.