Full Stroke: April 2021 Newsletter

Chris Ellul

Full Stroke: April 2021

Head Coach Address:

Hello Scarborough Swim Club,

This last month saw our swimmers take part in many more important activities to help us continue navigating the current times. Aside from our frequent physical testing taking part every few weeks on Fridays, we asked our swimmers to write a letter to themselves from their future-self. They were to be written in a time where we find ourselves beyond the pandemic, having returned to regular pool training.

Here’s a few of the important questions we asked our swimmers to reflect on:
How did focusing on your controllables help you to return physically and mentally stronger than ever before?
What has it meant to you being a member of SCAR throughout this pandemic?
What advice would you give to your past self entering the pandemic, with what you know now?

This is all much needed reflection by our swimmers, and it helps them put things into perspective and visualize the ending of the current pandemic situation. We will get through this, and exercises such as these can help us remain motivated and focused on what we can control now.

April also saw our “SCAR’s Got Talent” contest take place, with winners from each of our training groups chosen by their peers. All talents were great to see, and a chance for teammates to learn more about one another. Thank you to all our talented swimmers for participating, and showing each other just how talented you are.

Additionally, we celebrated National Volunteer Week from April 18-24. As we said in our Instagram postings, “Thank you to all the wonderful swimming volunteers… You are truly appreciated and our sport would not be possible if it weren’t for you…”
I’d like to again thank all of our swimming families for their dedication to their child’s sport, and the Scarborough Swim Club. From our volunteer Board of Directors, officials, parent and family volunteers, our swimmers are so fortunate!

Lastly, I’d like to touch on our new initiative that we’ve introduced, being the SCAR Kilometre Club. As you know, we are asking our swimmers to help us reach our goal of walking, running and biking the distance to each of the hometowns of our High-Performance Centre representatives. We may even find ourselves getting a little support from Taylor Ruck, Rebecca Smith, and Finlay Knox as well, so stay tuned… LET’s GO SCARBOROUGH!

High-Performance & Gold

To say I have been impressed with our senior-most student-athletes is an understatement. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of these swimmers for many years, and some even going on 8 seasons. You have all conducted yourselves brilliantly over this last year. Your trust in me, as well as your trust in your Team, have allowed us to maximize our virtual training program and find success. I cannot say enough of how well-trained and disciplined, responsible and respectful you all are. Thank you for your continued buy-in, as we continue our investment in all of you.

While all of our coaches have mentioned this previously, I’d like to again speak to the importance of our frequent review swimming footage. Whether it has been researching an elite Canadian swimmer, or reviewing different strokes, skills and drills, our swimming footage has an important role in our virtual programming. This is why we continue to connect SCAR swimmers with their sport in this way. We are not just an “after-school dryland program” after all; we’re a swim club. This also offers a different focus in training rather than just the physical dryland. HP-Gold will also be focusing on specific workout sets that are a part of our in-pool training; discussing expectations, past experiences, and how to better maximize gains. My swimmers have also provided great feedback as well, in what’s been most beneficial for you and what you’d like to see more of.

Next, I’d like to congratulate our HP-Gold Swimmer-of-the-Month, Anthony Di Carlo.

Anthony has been a workhorse in his virtual training. He is always actively engaged and committed to getting the most out of every session. Working out at home is not always the easiest thing; however, seeing Anthony take direction, continue to improve his overall strength, and display such explosiveness when called upon is very rewarding. Congratulations Anthony. It is certainly well-earned.

As always, please continue to practice healthy hygiene, physical distancing, mask-wearing, and all safety protocols. Remember swimmers: your situation is not unique only to you. Now is where we must continue to lean on one another, and where being part of a team can make all the difference. Be patient, be safe, and we’ll talk again soon.

Chris Ellul
Head Coach / Director of Swimming
Scarborough Swim Club

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Silver and Senior Select 

This past month certainly saw some changes for us; however, I am happy to say that all of you have done a fantastic job and have made for a smooth transition. We started to look at some new exercises and drills that, through good listening and focus on behalf of the swimmers, were easy for everyone to grasp and implement into our weekly workouts. We’ve also had some fun events and started some new challenges that will certainly help keep us all engaged and active.

Recently, I’ve begun to introduce some newer exercises to the groups. Those being the reverse crunch to streamline, alternating arm and leg lifts, and flip turn burpees. The swimmers have done such a fantastic job rising to the challenges with great determination and focus. We are still working on mastering our flip turn burpees, but that will come with time.

At the beginning of the month, we had the SCAR talent show which was such a fun event. Every swimmer that was at the workout showed off a great talent that they had prepared. While some played instruments, others showed off their art, gymnastic tricks, and more. It was a really great way to take a break from training and focus on something a little different with our swimmers.

Something else that we have been doing a little more of recently is visualization of ourselves swimming at the pool again. Together we will walk through a progression to help them focus and think like they were back swimming at a meet, and time them in a few different events to see if they could recreate a race in their heads. It’s a great way for the swimmers to be able to think about being at the pool and to be able to have that feeling of racing again.

Lastly, just this past weekend we have begun a new club-wide event: SCAR’s Kilometre Club! It is going to be a great way for the Club to work together for a big goal of “running across Canada”, as well as a great way for the swimmers to be scoring points on a weekly basis for their SSL teams. Coach Chris has sent out an email to everyone regarding the Kilometre Club that I recommend everyone go check out for all the details!

Swimmers of the month:
Emma is such a hard and dedicated worker when it comes to the sport of swimming. She has great attendance and is always listening for feedback, showing her dedication and passion for the sport. Emma isn’t shy about partaking in all the activities we have planed for them and has really shown how much she loves to be a part of SCAR. I have been able to see with this hard work, a great amount of improvement in her dryland activities. These will certainly translate very well to when she gets back in the pool. Congratulations Emma!

Senior Select:
Keye really takes her workouts seriously, and over the past month has shown that she wants to progress to the best of her abilities in every opportunity she has. Keye is always staying on top of what we are doing, as well as takes feedback really well, implementing directions right away. She is always engaged and has really stepped it up even more recently. Great work, Keye!

Swimmers, continue your hard work and dedication as we look forward to getting back to the pool. We will be back, and together we’ll ensure we return in the best version of ourselves.


Patrick Garcia
Head Age Group Coach (Silver & Senior Select)

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Bronze and Junior Select

It is wonderful to be back with Scar! I look forward to continuing to work with the Bronze and Junior swimmers for the remainder of the season. So far, I have observed an impressive level of dedication, work ethic and attention to detail from the Bronze and Junior swimmers during their online training sessions. We have had a particular focus on ensuring proper posture and good form when completing all exercises – “every movement with purpose”.

Going forward, we will be progressing through 4-week cycles with a continued focus on posture, form and controlled movements. Each swimmer is reminded to stay focused as we move into the final two months of the swim season. This is a great opportunity to “finish strong” much like you would in the last leg of a race. Now that the weather is warming up, the KM Club is a great opportunity for swimmers and their families to safely walk, jog, run or bike outside. This will not only gain points for the Scarborough Swim League teams but will also contribute to our progress as a Club. Please be sure to submit your tracking sheet each week before Friday’s training session. Let’s get out there!

For the month of April, the Swimmer of the Month in the Bronze group is Jahnavi. She has been committed to leading the group during activation and has put in a great deal of effort when completing all assigned tasks. Way to go Jahnavi!

The Swimmer of the Month in the Junior Select group is Rodrigo. He has reliably put his best effort forward and is proactive in asking his Coaches for assistance and clarification when needed. Keep up the great work Rodrigo!

I look forward to seeing you at our next training session.

Joanna Bott
Age Group Coach (Bronze & Junior Select)

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Development 11&U, 12-13

April showers bring May flowers!  We continue our growth and progression in virtual dryland to enhance our overall fitness and swimming skills. The Development group has persevered through these unprecedented times with commitment and dedication to the sport of swimming.

Early in the month, we had a talent competition for the swimmers to showcase their talents.  I was impressed to see the many talents our swimmers demonstrated to the rest of their groups.  We had talents that included music, sports in addition to swimming, artwork, sketches, video game design, dance, creative writing and creative videos.  It truly was wonderful for our swimmers to share their talents with their teammates and coaches.  This was a team building event in which the swimmers had the opportunity to vote for the top-3 for Scarborough Swim League points; however, all talents were tremendous!

Our letter written to our future self was an assignment to self-reflect on the past year.  Our swimmers have shown resilience during these challenging times.  They have managed the things they can control and have become mentally stronger.  The advice for their future self was indicative of a very mature group that appreciates their parents, family, friends, coaches and team. They value being part of SCAR, and having the opportunity to continue to workout with their group four times a week. Continue to write in your swim journals, reviewing goals, self-reflecting, and tracking your progress.

Our April plank test included a new challenge for our swimmers. The plank was held for 60 seconds, followed by and 10 seconds of different variations while holding a steady plank. This develops unilateral strength and balance. Our Dev swimmers were able to keep their head, neck and spine in alignment while completing this challenge.  Our swimmers continue to build endurance and strength with good technique and form. Keep up the great work!

Currently we are reviewing swimming videos of each stroke, breaking down the mechanics.  We are working to visualize and practice these strokes and skills on land as well.  It is important to emphasize head and body position, legs, arms, breathing and timing. Each week, we will continue to focus on two different strokes. There’s also been excellent feedback from the swimmers thus far.

Swimmer of the Month:
Development 11&U’s winner is Gregory! Gregory has excellent attendance and I’ve been impressed with his daily effort.  He is always working hard, and his technical form has improved consistently from great attention to detail.  Gregory, continue to work on developing your core strength and you will absolutely see this translate in the pool. Congratulations Gregory!

Development 12-13’s winner is Mariana! Mariana is always present and engaged in her virtual workouts. She works hard, and has seen tremendous improvement with her technique and timing. Mariana, continue to work on developing your endurance in the conditioning component of the work out.  Dryland strength and conditioning training   will enhance your performance in the pool.  Congratulations Mariana!

Our Development swimmers continue to prioritize overall fitness maintenance, developing strength, greater flexibility, focus, resilience, and perseverance. We will continue to develop technically and mentally strong swimmers. I am looking forward to May 2021!

Iwona de Xavier
Development Coach (Dev 11&U, 12-13)