Full Stroke Newsletter: December 2021-January 2022

Patrick Garcia

Notice from the Head Coach: 


Hello Scarborough Swim Club,


It’s certainly wonderful to see our Scarborough competitive program back in the water at TPASC in 2022. It’ll be even better once we see all of our SSA swim school back at it shortly too. While our TPASC lessons have restarted, we’ll soon have our TDSB facility in Wilfrid Laurier coming back online come mid-February. 


Once again, our competitive swimmers are as committed as ever during our at-home January dryland and mental skills programming. While our student-athletes have become so great adapting, it’s clear we all want to be back in the water. It is no secret that each shutdown is tough news for our swimmers. It is also why each time we return to the pool our swimmers must remind themselves of their goals (whatever they may be). Goals will change, and that’s okay; however, it’s important to have that objective within sight to work toward. Swimmers, please ensure you are not only reviewing your goals and goal-setting through self-reflection, but also discussing with your coaches, parents and peers. Accessing the support around you can help make all the difference in the world. While swimming is an individual sport, we are a team. Also remember that there are no wrong answers when it comes to re-evaluating your goals. It must be what you want, and what makes swimming fun every day for you.


With regards to March Break, and due to the most recent January shutdown, SCAR will continue its regular training throughout the week of March 14-18, 2022.


Upcoming Meet Schedule:


February 26 – SCAR Winter Time Trial; TPASC (all SCAR swimmers)

March 3-6 – Trials Selection Prep Invite; TPASC (hp-exemption swimmers) 

April 5-10 – Canadian Swimming Trials; Victoria, BC (qualifiers) 

April 7-10 – Spring Forward Invitational; TPASC (provincial meet for Festival, OYJ, OSC qualifiers) 

April 21-24 – Eastern Canadian Championships; Montreal, QC (qualifiers) 

May 27-29 – SCAR Pan Am Invitational; TPASC (all SCAR swimmers) Please stay tuned for a separate email detailing upcoming competitions. We are still currently looking for additional racing dates for all club swimmers.



Our High-Performance & Gold group swimmers have done a great job working to maintain their fitness level during the month of January. While it does take some adjusting once we’re back in the water, it is possible to get yourself back on track. With regular winter/spring championship meets no longer taking place in February and March this year (all provincial and regional meets), we are now able to breathe a little, and focus ahead to our next racing opportunities. I know these last couple of years have been extremely difficult for everyone, but the resilience my group has shown is very encouraging. While maintaining a regular training routine and qualifying for the next meet has been a major goal for our senior athletes, we’re also going to focus on having fun and enjoying ourselves with the opportunities we have to work together at the pool. Happy swimmers are fast swimmers, and by focusing on the process and having fun, we can accomplish a lot.


Swimmer of the Month

I’d like to congratulate both Joyce Han (December) and Declan McGroarty (January) who are being awarded our winter Swimmer’s of the Month.


December:  Joyce H

Joyce has shown such an unwavering commitment to her swimming, working at getting herself to where it is she wants to be. A skill such as establishing a strong feel for the water is important to all swimmers, and Joyce made a promise to herself to see improvement by winning the small battles every day. It was very rewarding to watch Joyce not only improve from meet to meet during the fall months, but also to see her grit and determination at our SCAR December Invite. Trusting in the process and working to improve little by little does pay off, but you need to believe it to see it through. Wonderful job!

January:  Declan M

Declan was again in fine form as he so often is at our December meet. He continues to be a tremendous example of what can be achieved with sheer determination and will power, as well as consistently working to the best of his ability. His time spent working through his at-home dryland training was certainly time well spent. It was clear all month long just how focused he was with maintaining his physical fitness, and ensuring he returned to the pool without skipping a beat. Well done!


Let’s keep up the good work,


Chris Ellul

Head Coach, Director of Swimming

Scarborough Swim Club

[email protected]


Hello Silver & Senior Select,


What a wild past few months we had but we were able to stick to it and get through it together as a group and team. Thank you to all of the swimmers for being able to work through another few weeks out of the pool. I am excited that we are back and can't wait for us to be able to continue our hard work. 


Just a quick recap of December, but we were able to have a SCAR meet involving other clubs for the first time in a while. I was very impressed with how the swimmers swam and how well SCAR performed as a team. It is always great to be able to do stuff together as a team and I can't wait for more opportunities for us to race again. 

As well, in December we had a fairly big build in our swimming at practice. Upping the amount of meters we were doing along with focusing more on our Aerobic Endurance. I think with that base being built, we will be able to get back into the swing of things fairly quickly since we were able to also maintain workouts while out of the pool. 


In January, the group had a main focus more on strength and power throughout our dryland training. Seeing the progression from week to week was truly incredible and really shows how hardworking and dedicated the swimmers are. Seeing swimmers who had struggled to do one push up correctly on their knees, to being able to do multiple push ups on their feet with excellent form is exactly the type of progression I am looking for. 


Along with a lot of strength and power training, being able to work together as a club on our Friday sessions where we worked on some challenges and mental preparation was key to our success over the time out of the water. Being able to work on how we can focus on what we can control, and not focus on what we cannot control was huge for the swimmers and a great thing to remember as we progress forward into meets and other aspects of life. 


Moving forward into February, the groups focus is going to be more on race specific focuses such as starts, turns, underwater dolphin kicking, breakouts, and technique in each stroke. Since we worked for most of the season on our fitness and build, zoning in the focus into our race work will show to be crucial for when we get back into racing. Making all the "little" things excellent can make or break a swim; this is why it will be a huge focus for us and will be integrated into most practices. As well as those race specifics, we will also be working a little more on the overall speed and shorter distances in repetition more and more as we continue on with the season.


Please be sure that when going into the pool moving forward to be a little earlier than expected since it takes a bit more time to get into the building while going through screening. 


December Swimmers of the Month


Silver: Mackenzie 

Mackenzie has really been a showcase of consistency, hard work, and coachability throughout this season. She has really been a great teammate to everyone in our group and leads by example in and out of practice. Congratulations Mackenzie! 


Senior: Keye 

Keye is someone who comes into practice and is always asking questions on how to get better. She is willing to listen to feedback and implements it into her swim as quickly as possible. Keye is a really great teammate to have as well since she is very encouraging and trains hard! Great work Keye!


January Swimmers of the Month


Silver: Veronica

Veronica has taken huge strides forward when it comes to practice. From being consistently on time, to working hard and pushing teammates, to being coachable and asking questions along the way. With working this hard and being this focused, I feel as if she will see the fruits of her labor when it comes to racing as the season progresses. Great work Veronica!


Senior: Hirushi

Hirushi is a genuine person who really loves swimming and being part of Scarborough Swim Club. She is a great teammate who is looking out for others while being able to push herself in practice. Seeing her progression during the month of January was really amazing as she has gotten so much stronger and I think this will help so much as we get back into the swing of things at the pool. Congratulations Hirushi!

All the best,

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


Bronze & Junior Select

Hello there,

Happy February! With February here we look back on our January training. First, I would like to give a quick recap of December. 


After a month of impressive training, we had a little fun going into the winter training. We themed our practices with the Advent extravaganza, 12 days of Christmas, and 7 Continents of the World. We wrapped up the month with outstanding attendance during winter training. During the second half of the break, we also congratulated swimmers on graduating from Bronze/Jr. to Silver/Sr. and welcomed new swimmers from Development to Bronze/Jr.  


Another December highlight was our second swim meet of the year. Every swimmer in Bronze/Jr. showed great improvement and excitement. There were many highlights to that meet and I wish I could list them all! Thank you again to all parents who volunteered.


Back to January. January brought back a lot of emotions as we faced another closure. I want to thank all the swimmers and their families for maintaining a positive outlook and continuing to show that no matter what obstacle stands in front of them they will persist. I had a lot of fun coming together as an entire club on Friday’s. It gave a great sense of team camaraderie. The team discussed obstacles in our swimming, what we can control and what we can’t. As well as support; parent support, coach support and supporting teammates. In addition to working mental skills, we maintained our strength and conditioning routine and participated in a max jumping jacks challenge and squat challenge. 


Moving forward we hop back into the pool and begin training for our next in-house meet at the end of February. One of my aims this month is to reinforce the importance of standards including; meters off the wall, streamline kicks, a powerful finish, turns, and starts. All in preparation to step up on the blocks and perform at our best. Individuals often measure their success by a drop in race times but need to remember that working on efficiency will bring those times down. 

December Swimmer of the Month

Bronze: Claire

Claire is a whole new person when it comes to swim meets. She exceeds her own expectations with each event. This fierce Claire has started to appear during sets and is smashing her way through practice. Way to go Claire!


Junior: Simran

This month Simran has really shined. She has consistently asked for more and more feedback. Took some extra time to work on her dives and had good results from the December Invitational. Great work Simran!

January Swimmers of the Month

Bronze: Sienna

Sienna came into the Bronze group over the holiday. She was able to adapt as if she had always been there. With each set you can see Sienna’s attention to detail and effort. I have no doubt that Sienna will make leaps and bounds this season. Congratulations Sienna!


Junior:  Arshadha

It can be intimidating coming into a new group especially half way through the season. Arshadha was able to make the transition seamlessly. She has been able to adjust to a new coach and challenge herself with faster pace times. In addition, Arshadha was the only one to complete our Bingo Challenge card! Keep up the great work Arshadha!


See you at the pool,

Laura Watts

Age Group Coach

Scarborough Swim Club

[email protected]


Development 11&U, 12-13

Hello Development Swimmers and Families,


First off, I want to thank everyone for sticking it out with us over the last three weeks during the recent shutdown. We had a very successful virtual program, and it was great to have so many of our swimmers participate in nearly every session! I saw a lot of improvement in terms of strength and coordination, and just from what I have seen at our first practices back in the water this week I can tell it has made a huge difference. Many swimmers look like they have not missed a beat and it looks like we will be able to get back into the swing of things in no Time!


Before I get into more detail about what the month of January looked like for our group, and what the next month of training will entail, I want to give a quick recap of what we worked on prior to the shutdown in December. As I mentioned in the previous newsletter, we had our meet on the 18th and 19th of December.


Swimmers went into this meet with the goal of learning something from each swim and gaining valuable racing experience. They were encouraged to reflect on each race and consider what they did well and what they can improve upon for next time. We had some very impressive swims, with several swimmers achieving personal bests in each event they participated in! This was a clear demonstration of the hard work and focus everyone has put in at each training session leading up to that meet. Over our holiday training, we continued to challenge ourselves with the drills and sets we had become familiar with throughout the season so far. Stroke counting and consistent 3+3 underwaters were of particular focus throughout the month, and a lot of that work really showcased itself in many of our races.


We entered the month of January with the focus of remaining engaged and maintaining our fitness as much as possible throughout the shutdown. Our dryland sessions consisted of one session a week dedicated to strength exercises that were based on holding various positions while maintaining proper form, and one session a week dedication to more movement/coordination-based exercises. We also had our Friday evening team sessions which were “choose your own adventure” style, giving swimmers the opportunity to vote on which workout they wanted to perform for each category of upper body, core, lower body, and a bonus. This gave us the opportunity to try out some new exercises that our group had not yet been introduced to, and I was so impressed with everyone’s ability to catch-on to these newer ones very quickly and perform them effectively on the first try! I have seen great strides in everyone’s strength, coordination, and kinaesthetic awareness throughout these past weeks which I know will continue to translate in both our in-water sessions and our dryland sessions.


We also took these last few weeks as an opportunity to revisit our goal setting worksheet that most swimmers completed back in September. Returning swimmers were encouraged to reflect and add on to their responses from the start of the season, while new swimmers had the opportunity to complete the worksheet for the first time. It can not be overstated how valuable goal setting is both in swimming and outside of swimming, and it was fantastic to see so many excellent responses from everyone! Remember: this is something that will not only help you as swimmers but will also help me as your coach know how to best help you achieve your goals. If you have not already completed the worksheet, please do so as soon as possible.


Going into February, we are going to mainly be focusing on cleaning back up our technique and reviewing our group standards for each stroke. After being out of the water for several weeks, it will be crucial to take some time to reacquire these skills while rebuilding each aspect of our technique and stroke mechanics as we work towards continued improvement in these areas.


We will have a very high focus on streamline, underwater dolphin kicks, and proper turns off each wall throughout our practices. We will also be continuing to work towards strengthening our kick and improving our breathing techniques in all four strokes. I have high hopes that we will be back up to our previous intensity from before the shutdown in no time after everyone’s hard work during virtual training. 


Please be reminded to arrive at TPASC at least 15-20 minutes early to each workout. This is not only to give enough time to prepare yourselves and complete activation, but also to avoid any potential line-ups at the screening area upon entry.


December Swimmers of the Month

Development 11 & Under: Isabella
Isabella has had excellent attendance over the last month and continues to impress me with her focus at every training session. She shows a high level of coordination and strength both in and out of the water and is always striving to complete every skill with proper technique. Her hard work was really showcased at our December meet where she swam a personal best time in each of her events! Keep up the great effort, Isabella!

Development 12-13: Sayeli
Sayeli has really taken her focus and dedication to the next level over the last few weeks. She has worked extremely hard in practice, especially during our holiday training, and has taken the initiative to challenge herself to improve upon something at every single workout. She has demonstrated a positive attitude and openness to feedback while maintaining excellent attendance throughout December. She also swam all personal best times at the December meet! Keep up the great work, Sayeli!

January Swimmer of the Month


Development 11 & Under: Ali

Ali is one of our new Development swimmers that just recently joined our group back in late

December. Ever since he joined, I have been really impressed by his eagerness to learn and ask questions at every training session. He attended nearly every single one of our virtual training sessions and really showcased his ability to remain focused and work hard while being receptive to feedback. I have seen a lot of improvement in his strength, coordination, and endurance over the last month already. Keep up the hard work, Ali!


Development 12-13: Seraphina

Seraphina is another one of our new Development Swimmers, but watching her in dryland over the last month you would never guess that was the case! She has perfect attendance and has already shown a lot of skill and endurance in each strength workout. She is an excellent listener and had some great responses in both our group discussions on Friday evenings and in her goal setting worksheet – where it was evident that she put a lot of time and thought into her responses. Keep up the great work, Seraphina!


Best wishes,

Christina Ramsay

Development Coach

Scarborough Swim Club

[email protected]