Full Stroke Newsletter: October 2021

Chris Ellul

Hello Scarborough Swim Club,

I’d like to start off this month’s newsletter by congratulating all our swimmers that competed at our first home competition in almost two years.  It was very rewarding to see everyone lined up behind the blocks and racing again.  When I think back at all we’ve been through as a team from March 2020, it certainly brought a lot of emotions to the forefront.  While the team remained engaged and connected during the Ontario lockdowns, this competition experience really showed us that we truly made it through together.  A big thank you to our meet managers in Kristen and Ted, and of course all our wonderful volunteer officials for helping to put this on!

A special congratulations to Mikaela Blake of our HP group, who was selected to attend Swim Ontario’s High-Performance Time Trial in mid-October.  This was an event for select swimmers to be seen by SO for potential funding opportunities.  Events like this will happen throughout a swimmer’s career, and it’s why you’ve got to remain sharp and make the most of your training and competition sessions.  It’s about the process, and getting better every day.  Mikaela swam a great 100m long course butterfly, having the ability to once again race some of her biggest competitors; albeit extremely early into the current season. Well done!

SCAR hosted in partnership with the TPASC Sport Community Council, our 2nd Annual Halloween Food Drive to benefit the Scarborough Food Security Initiative.  This is something extremely important to me, and it shows just how much Scarborough Swim Club can continue to have a lasting impression on our community, and in many ways.  Thank you to those who donated.

SCAR’s High-Performance & Gold group, as with all of our competitive groups, continues to press on, looking for progress every day and every week.  We continue to dedicate much of our time to getting ourselves back into a well conditioned state, with our major emphasis on completing each task to the best of our ability.  Speed is incredibly important, but it’s also about how you’re doing it.  Again, I come back to the process.  HP-Gold swimmers continue to hear about how deliberate and specific we must be every single day.  Everything must be done with a purpose, and swimmers must understand and value that purpose.  Unfortunately, it cannot be about picking and choosing all the time.  Those that take this to heart are those able to maximize their gains in the pool.  As we march on toward the New Year, HP-Gold will look see additional steps forward in their training at both our November High-Performance Time Trial, and Ontario Junior International.  SCAR will also be hosting its second meet of the season over the December 18-19 weekend at TPASC.  More info on this meet to come – Please save the date!

Swimmer of the Month

High-Performance & Gold:  Quin G.

Quin continues to be one of our leaders within HP-Gold, consistently setting a wonderful hardworking example for his peers.  Quin knows how to leave everything at the door before entering onto the pool deck.  When he’s in the water, it’s business as usual.  I often remind my swimmers: it’s about what’s placed in front of you, and the process in how you’re going to get the job done.  While it sounds simple enough, it takes an elite skill-set and understanding.  Quin continues to make the most of his training opportunities, and this will only serve him as he marches on through the swim season.  He has some big goals; and his consistency and accountability will continue to reward his efforts.  Great job, Quin. 

That’s it from me for now. See you at the pool!

Chris Ellul
Head Coach, Director of Swimming
Scarborough Swim Club
[email protected]


Silver & Senior Select

What a great way to end off the month of October with a time trial! I know it has been a tough past 20 or so months without being able to compete or sometimes train as normal; but with this meet and how we have been progressing through the season so far in practice, it almost feels like the light at the end of the tunnel! I have been really impressed with how well each swimmer has done so far and can't wait to see what everyone will be bringing to the table as we continue our hard work.

Some of the things we have started to implement into our practices a lot more has been sculling and dolphin kick. In each of our warm ups we have done either or quite a bit of sculling, or a progressing dolphin kick set. Sculling is so useful as we are aiming to develop a strong "feel" for the water, which helps us with our pulling. The dolphin kick set is designed to help build the strength and endurance base for the kick and to help improve speed off the walls.

With this past time trial, we had a few focuses going into it. Mainly:

1. Competing hard 

2. Competing tactically

3. Having fun!

One thing I kept on talking about with the swimmers is the fact that an early season race is for the coaches to see where we need to focus the most on for each swimmer. I noticed a lot of hard competing and a lot of swimmers having fun with it, which is fantastic; but something that we need to focus more on as we progress throughout the season is being able to maintain our standards and tactics throughout the race. Whether that be us not breathing when we're not supposed to, doing a proper amount of kicks off the wall, etc. Although I did see that most people were trying to maintain those things, there is room for improvement which starts at practice. Being able to maintain standards at practice will help us build good and useful habits that will aid us as we continue to strive for greatness at each of our meets.

As the swimmers have started to notice, some of the practices are getting harder and we are getting in more and more distance. While we continue the build phase, we will continue to focus on technical and tactical awareness while ramping up the metres and getting more fit. Building our fitness this early in the season is crucial for the swimmers as it will help them out greatly when we hit championship season in February/March and June/July.

Swimmers of the Month

Silver:  Emma

Emma has proven to be a showcase of excellence each and every day. She has continued to make it a goal to attend every practice and to work her hardest at each practice. Emma is showing such determination and it feels as if she is fearless and won't let anything get in her way. Congratulations Emma!

Senior Select:  Abbigail

Abbigail has also been so keen on making sure to attend every practice. Even when things aren't going her way, she has continued to keep a consistent and steady communication with me and has still put in her 100% effort. She is continuing to make progress every day and is going to make big waves this season. Way to go Abby!

All the best,

Patrick Garcia
Head Age Group Coach
Scarborough Swim Club
[email protected]


Bronze & Junior Select

I hope everyone had a spooky Halloween!

We finished October off with a bang and I couldn’t have been more excited! After almost 2 years since our last swim meet our SCAR time trial went off without a hitch. It was a chance for the swimmers to showcase all their hard work so far and that’s exactly what they did. Along with showing the fruits of their labour, it was also a great way for the coaches to be able to see what each swimmer could focus on more while at practice in preparation for our next meet.  I could not have been more impressed with the Bronze/Junior performance and am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season will bring!

Last month we worked on increasing the load while maintaining the efficiency of each stroke and maintaining underwater work off the walls. We practiced starts as well as round off the events in our Super 7 Series. An exciting chance to connect with other swimmers and clubs.

With the start of a new month, we will revisit a few elements that stood out at the time trial including breathing patterns. In addition, swimmers will begin to notice less rest between intervals. The ability to maintain the quality of their strokes while in fatigue or longer distances is important to build through the season. We will ease into such sets to make sure we do not lose the technique and efficiency they have worked to build from the beginning of the season.

Swimmers of the Month

Bronze:  Laureen

Laureen has maintained a perfect attendance so far this season. She makes sure she understands exactly what is asked of her throughout the set and executes it impeccably. Her technique has improved greatly in these short 2 months.

Junior Select:  Adrija

Adrija also has flawless attendance and makes the most of each one. Adrija works extremely hard to implement feedback. This has led to great improvement in her technique and efficiency in swimming. Keep up the hard work!

See you soon!

Laura Watts
Age Group Coach
Scarborough Swim Club
[email protected]


Development 11&U, 12-13

October has been another successful month of training for our group! This was a busy month as we spent time in our training sessions preparing for our very first meet held this past Saturday, October 30th. We also had a few opportunities to race during practice to record times for the Virtual Meet we are participating in alongside 6 other swim clubs. Swimmers had the option of swimming 50m of all four strokes and 100m I.M., or 100m of all four strokes and 200m I.M.

Alongside that, throughout the month we have remained focused on improving our technique and meeting the group standards for each stroke. We have also started on some faster pace times and fast kick sets in order to build up more strength and endurance while maintaining effective technique. In dryland, we have moved into some strength training. We are learning that in order to get the most out of each exercise, we must take our time and make sure we’re in proper form for each rep. I am continually blown away by the hard work and dedication from all swimmers in each training session and encourage everyone to keep up their outstanding effort and attention!

Despite it being the very first competition ever for a few of our new swimmers, and the first competition in over a year and a half for our returning swimmers, I was very impressed with the racing I saw at the Time Trial on Saturday. I saw many of the things that we have been working hard on in training come into fruition, including some very strong kicking along with great head and body position. It also gave me a good idea of what we need to improve upon as a group. Moving forward, we will continue to build upon the technical aspects we have been focusing on, as well as polishing up our underwater streamline, starts, and turns.

Swimmers of the Month

Development 11 & Under:  Gregory

Gregory has perfect attendance and on top of that, is always consistently ready to learn and listen at every practice. He works hard through every set and every rep both at the pool and in virtual dryland. His hard work and consistency is already showing as he’s become much stronger and more coordinated in the water, especially on his turns and underwater streamline. Way to go, Greg!

Development 12-13:  Arshadha

I have been very impressed with Arshadha’s dedication to improve at every single practice. She is always communicating with me to ask for feedback and advice on how she can be better, and is excellent at taking that advice and implementing it into her swimming right away. She also always has a positive attitude and is great about cheering on and encouraging her teammates. Congratulations Arshadha!

All the best,

Christina Ramsay
Development Coach
Scarborough Swim Club
[email protected]