Swimmers Tim Peterson, Andy Ritchie Among OLY Canada Legacy Grant Winners

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Photo Courtesy: Con Kudaba/Canadian Olympic Commitee

Swimmers Tim Peterson and Andy Ritchie and water polo player Con Kudaba were among the recipients of the 2020 OLY Canada Legacy Grants, announced Sunday by the Canadian Olympic Committee.

The COC bestowed 10 grants of $5,000 each to Team Canada Legacy Olympians working on specific projects to advance sporting opportunities in the country. In the second year of the OLY Canada Legacy Grants, the COC increased the number of prizes awarded from five to 10. It specifically sought:

As part of an application process, projects were evaluated on how they would build stronger communities through the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect while supporting the COC’s efforts in sport inclusion, particularly with regards to increasing access or participation in sport in Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities, as well as the sustainability of the project, among other criteria.

Peterson, who swam the 1,500 freestyle at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, is leading a training camp for swimmers at the North Vancouver Cruisers Summer Aquatics Club. The grant would endow the program for four years, and Peterson will include structured swimming instruction plus leadership development and volunteer opportunities for swimmers age 11-16.

“The OLY Canada Legacy Grant will support this multi-year training camp to grow the next generation of athletes, coaches, and community leaders,” Peterson said in the COC release. “I am so excited to build on the good work that Cruisers Aquatics does, and prepare the kids to take on coaching roles in a few years. I can still remember, as an age group swimmer, meeting Mark Tewksbury in 1994 as part of the Junior Swim Bursary program. Hearing Mark’s story of Olympic gold set me on the course to realize my own Olympic dream in 2000. I hope to have a similar impact on the Cruisers swimmers!”

Ritchie, who made the final of the 400 individual medley at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, is based in Northwestern Ontario. His endeavor, “Project Velocity – Northern Swimmers Take Flight,” seeks to purchase a FINA-approved starting platform for swimmers at the Canada Games Complex in Thunder Bay. The facility upgrades will increase training opportunities for swimmers in the area who want to compete at the provincial and national levels and also make the facility more attractive to hosting events.

“Thank you, Canadian Olympic Committee and the OLY Canada Legacy Grant program!,” Ritchie said. “The impact you have made on PROJECT VELOCITY is profound and vastly exciting to us here in Northern Ontario. All great accomplishments begin with one small step and you have just helped us take that step. Your generous support has purchased a state-of-the-art starting block and soon our swimmers will be flying off that block!”

Kudaba was a water polo Olympian in 2008, the first time the country has qualified in that sport in since 1984. He works in Sechelt, British Columbia as a swim coach for athletes from lower-income households. The grant will help defray costs of travel and competition while also purchasing a timing/touchpad system for Chinook Swim Club.

“This grant is a great gift to the community of the Sunshine Coast,” Kudaba said. “Not only will these funds support the safe and inclusive environment that swimming instills, but will also have a lasting legacy towards all aspiring youth both today and in the years to come. The Sechelt and area community is eternally grateful to the COC for their generosity and recognition of smaller cities needing sport to bring people and families together.”

The rest of the program honorees and a synopsis of their projects is available here.

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