Competition Philosophy

CHENA engages in a multi-level competition program and, like our training, attempts to provide challenging, yet success-oriented competitive situations for swimmers of all ages and abilities.  The following policies outline our philosophy:

  1. We emphasize competition with oneself.  While winning ribbons, medals or trophies is usually a well-deserved by-product, it is not our main goal.  Even if the swimmer finishes first, but has swum poorly in comparison to his or her own past performances, he or she is encouraged to do better.  The individual's improvement is our primary objective.
  2. Sportsmanlike behaviour is of equal importance to improved performance.  Our coaches teach swimmers how to behave like a champion whether they have "good" or "bad" swims.  Respect for officials, congratulations to other competitors, encouragement to teammates, determined effort and mature attitudes are examples of behaviours praised and rewarded by the CHENA coaching staff.  Parents, coaches and swimmers should always remember that, particularly at swim meets, they are ambassadors for CHENA and their words and conduct will be judged by others and reflect on our club.
  3. A swimmer is praised for improving his or her stroke or time.  It is the coach's job to offer constructive criticism of a swimmer's performance.  It is the parent's responsibility to provide love and support that bolsters the swimmer's confidence along the way.
  4. Swimmers are taught to set realistic yet challenging goals for meets and to relate those goals in practice to direct their training efforts.
  5. Swimmers are prepared and encouraged to compete in all swimming events, distances, and strokes consistent with Swimming Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development Strategy (see  The choice of events that a swimmer competes in at a swim meet is entirely up to the coach, although they may occasionally consult with the swimmers (particularly older swimmers attending high level meets).  Often the choice reflects strokes or habits that are currently being worked on in training.  This policy promotes versatility and encourages the swimmer to explore his or her potential in the wide range of events offered in competitive swimming.  Oftentimes, a swimmer's "best" stroke changes as he or she matures and the body goes through physical changes.  Parents should support and encourage the coach’s choice of events for their child.  Questioning them, particularly in front of the child, will undermine and frustrate the coach’s efforts, and erode the child’s respect for the coach.