Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
John Mcleod

John began his coaching career while still an active swimmer in the 1990’s for his small swim team in Hawkesbury, Ontario.  It was here he developed a passion for motivating and inspiring young athletes through great coaching and instruction.  After finishing up his age-group swimming career he moved to Toronto where he found himself under the tutelage of Murray Drudge of the North York Aquatic Club for the next 8 seasons.  After gaining valuable experience and successes at the Age-group national level John moved onto Quebec to become a Head Coach.  After 2 seasons and doubling the size of the club, John moved onto Montreal to help the quickly growing Neptune Natation with their transition from a smaller team in Quebec to one of the largest in the province that challenged and won the Provincial Team Championship banner two years in a row.  It was here that John worked with a multitude of athletes from Learn-to-swim to National qualified athletes and everyone in between.

 

                  Through the years John has always prided himself on being a great motivator and support system to his athletes.  One of his favorite quotes that he picked up early on in his career has always rung true no matter where he coached.  “it’s not how fast you swim but how you swim fast”

Andy Ritchie

When the Thunderbolts started in 1972, Andy was an original member of the club training under legendary coach Don Talbot. Within a few years, he was named to the Canadian National Team and remained there for five years. He earned a spot on multiple international tour teams, broke National and Commonwealth records, and earned a spot in the finals of the 400 IM at the Olympics in Montreal in 1976 at the young age of 17.

Andy then earned a full scholarship to the University of Florida where he set numerous varsity and state records and then continued to have multiple gold medal performances swimming at four Canadian University Championships. He was a bronze medalist at the World Student Games in Sophia, Bulgaria in 1977. Andy had the honour of being inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and will be inducted into the LU Wall of Fame in October 2019. He is currently very active as a Masters swimmer setting numerous Provincial and National records over a 20-year period and attempting to chase down a world record for Canada. 

Andy began his professional coaching career in 1982 under National Team coach Derek Snelling, becoming Senior Age Group Coach overseeing a staff of seven coaches and over 200 swimmers. He also assisted Coach Snelling with National Team legends such as Mark Tewksbury, Tom Ponting, and many others. He has been the Head Coach of the Thunder Rays Masters Swim Team since 2014 overseeing growth from about 20 swimmers to the current number of 65 with a waiting list of over 30. He led the Thunder Rays to their first Provincial title in March 2019. 

Andy is extremely honoured and excited to join the coaching team of the Thunder Bolts!

Brooke Hulina
Zoe Hunt

Zoe is currently a grade 12 French immersion student at Hammarskjöld High School. She swam for the Bolts for 10 years, making and competed in Trials in 2019. She is very excited to coach again this year and is looking forward to this new season.

Hannah Leveque Pre-Competitive Coach

Hi there! I'm Hannah, one of our pre-competitive coaches. After being a member of the Bolts community since 2008, I have developed a passion for swimming and coaching. Being a member of this wonderful team has allowed me to develop essential interpersonal skills and has also introduced me to many incredible people who I now consider a second family. I am a firm believer that swimming fosters essential qualities such as teamwork, responsibility, and leadership; it provides an opportunity for youth to thrive and reach their true potential, not only as an athlete but as an individual. As a coach, I like to focus on the development of new skills in and out of the pool through hard work and fun. I can’t wait to see what the new season brings for each swimmer!

Jon Balabuck

 Jon likes spaghetti.

Emily Murphy
Rachael Brown Pre-Competitive Coach

My name is Rachael Brown and I am a grade 11 student at Hammarskjold High School. After swimming with the Thunder Bay Thunderbolts for over 10 years, I am very excited to be joining the coaching team. I look forward to sharing my love for swimming with younger swimmers to create a fun and positive learning environment, and show them how amazing it is to be part of the Bolts family!

Board of Directors