Pierre Lafontaine Stepping Away From Swimming, Takes Job As Head of Canadian Ski Federation

Pierre Lafontaine is the new chief executive officer of Canadian Interuniversity Sport. Lafontaine is shown speaking to reporters at the UBC Aquatic Centre in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday May 24, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Photo Courtesy: DARRYL DYCK

After more than 20 years as a coach and executive in various positions in swimming, Pierre Lafontaine is stepping away from the sport to take a new job as head of Canada’s cross-country skiing federation, Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada.

Lafontaine will take up the position as CEO on December 1, continuing a career of serving as a leader in various federations of Canadian sports. Lafontaine had previously been the CEO of Canadian Interuniversity Sport for two years, a job he took after working as CEO and national team coach for Swimming Canada from 2005 to 2013.

After leaving his post with the CIS, Lafontaine returned to the pool deck this past April as head coach of Club de Natation Gatineau.

“There are many synergies between swimming and cross-country skiing. They are technically-driven sports that have athletes with great engines who are fiercely dedicated to achieving excellence,” said Lafontaine in the official announcement by the skiing federation. “Similar to swimming in the Summer Games, cross-country skiing is one of the most iconic winter Olympic and Paralympic sports. I believe we have an opportunity to be a real powerhouse and position our sport, in its rightful place, as a constant pillar in the Canadian sport scene.”

Canadian cross-country skiing has only won three medals at the Winter Olympics. Beckie Scott took gold in the 2x5K pursuit in 2002, while Scott teamed with Sara Renner for silver in the team pursuit in 2006. Chandra Crawford won gold in 2006 in the sprint event.

Lafontaine was a big part of turning the tide in Canadian swimming during his stint as national team coach and CEO. The country won medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and celebrated medals at all of the long course world championships during his tenure, including a shared gold by Brent Hayden in the 100 free at the 2007 meet. He was instrumental in the creation of Own the Podium, a multi-sport initiative to create elite athletes that can challenge for Olympic medals.

Before his time as Swimming Canada CEO, Lafontaine was head coach at the Australian Institute of Sport from 2003 to 2005. That was preceded by coaching stints in the United States with Phoenix Swim Club and Dynamo Swim Club. His longest time with one team was with the Point-Claire Swim Club from 1976 to 1981.

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7 years ago

Good guy! Always respectful to swimmers, coaches and officials. All the best Pierre!

7 years ago

I think he coached at Dynamo Swim Club in Atlanta.

7 years ago

One of the best people in the world, a true modivator and optimist, that tirelessly strives to give his best so athletes of all levels find it in themselves to respond accordingly and with more than they ever thought possible.
My life has been forever shaped by Pierre and his loving and supportive family. Looking forward to another arena for his athletes to do what they do best–rise higher and accomplish more than they ever thought–in all areas of their lives!