Swimming World Presents “Q&A With Canadian Olympic Coach Tom Johnson”

SW July 2020 - Q and A with Canadian Olympic Coach Tom Johnson

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Q&A With Canadian Olympic Coach Tom Johnson

By Michael J. Stott

Legendary 10-time Olympic coach Tom Johnson has been involved at virtually every level of Canadian swimming for nearly 50 years and continues to mentor Olympic hopefuls at the High Performance Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Coach Tom Johnson was also inducted into the following halls of fame: Quebec Swimming (2000), British Columbia Swimming (2008), University of British Columbia Sports (2015), British Columbia Sports (2016) and the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame (2018).

CREDENTIALS
• McGill University, Bachelor of Commerce, management and marketing, 1972
• Head coach, High Performance Centre—Vancouver, 1998-present
• Canadian coach at 10 Olympics, 14 World Championships and 11 Commonwealth Games
• Coach of 47 Olympians
• Head coach of University of British Columbia (UBC) varsity swim team, 1990-2005, winning 11 women’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships, 8 men’s and 21 Canada West titles
• Helped establish National Training Centre at UBC, served as technical director 1998-present
• Head coach, Canadian Dolphins Swim Club, 1979-90
• 12x U Sports (NCAA equivalent) coach of the year (6x men, 6x women)

Q. SWIMMING WORLD: Who were some seminal influences for you as a swimmer and coach?
A. COACH TOM JOHNSON: George Gate (Canadian Hall of Fame, 1968 Olympics coach) was all about constant learning, anticipating next steps and valuing, developing and respecting the individual. He taught me honor, responsibility and the importance of the coach on peoples’ lives. Don Talbot helped me to better understand world swimming, the requirements of and how to develop swimmers to win on the global stage as well as the need to be professional every day.

Following Deryk Snelling at the Canadian Dolphins (Vancouver) was an important milestone in my career. Gennadi Touretski, who coached Alexander Popov and Michal Klim, helped me understand freestyle. Keith Bell, the sport psychologist, advanced my understanding of the psychology of winning and helped me create and implement the operating principles and the philosophies that I use in building my program and working every day. Dr. Rein Haljund from Estonia influenced me greatly in understanding swimming biomechanics.

Flip Filippelli, a former FINA Technical Committee member, was my mentor. He explained the human resource side of my job and the politics of decision making.

SW: Your brother, Dave, has had an impact on your swimming and personal life, has he not?
TJ: Yes, he is my twin, my best friend and was my best man. We have competed and collaborated personally and professionally throughout our lives.
Dave approached me in 1973 to be a part of the Pointe-Claire program as Canada was preparing for the Montreal Olympics. He has a great mind for the sport and can articulate, communicate and implement a vision really well. He has built three very good programs over the course of his career—Pointe-Claire, Edmonton Keyano and now Cascade Swim Club (Calgary).

He was instrumental during his time as Canada’s national coach and High Performance director in the development of the philosophies that have become a part of the High Performance Systems in Canada that are being implemented by Own the Podium and the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Like most twins, we share similar interests, particularly repair and restoration of BMWs. We have also shared a summer home in the interior of British Columbia for more than 30 years. This has allowed our families to know one another and has provided a refuge for us between the swimming seasons.

To access the complete Q&A with 10-time Canadian Olympic Coach Tom Johnson,
Check out the full issue of Swimming World July 2020, available now!

SW July 2020 - Duncan Scott - Heart of Britain's Successful Surge - Cover[PHOTO CREDIT: IAN MACNICOL]

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Swimming World Magazine July 2020 Issue

FEATURES

017 A NEW HOPE
by Dan D’Addona
The COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the globe and changed the lives of everyone in the world. Now, there is some light at the end of the tunnel as the world struggles to find normalcy again.

020 ISHOF: “CALLING ALL TROUBLEMAKERS”
by Bruce Wigo
Sprinters are a different breed of swimmer. They’re not just free spirits, but they seem to be rule breakers and troublemakers who also are catalysts for positive change. In the first of a two-part feature, Swimming World takes a look at the stories of two of the most well-known female sprinters who fit this image: Dawn Fraser and Eleanor Holm.

023 GREAT SCOT(T)
by David Rieder
Scotland’s Duncan Scott should be an Olympic medal threat next year in the 100 and 200 free and maybe even the 200 IM, and he will be a key cog for British 800 free and 400 medley relays with gold medal aspirations.

026 TAKEOFF TO TOKYO: A STAR OF SWIMMING…AND HOLLYWOOD
by John Lohn
The latest installment of our Takeoff to Tokyo series looks at the career of the legendary Johnny Weissmuller, one of the first stars in the sport, and then a Hollywood hero.

COACHING

012 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: THE VALUE OF HAND FORCE ANALYSIS: PART IV—FREESTYLE
by Rod Havriluk
The first three articles in this series (Part I—Butterfly, Part II—Backstroke and Part III—Breaststroke) presented information about the value of using hand force analysis to reinforce positive technique elements and identify limitations. The current article includes more general information about force analysis with a freestyle example.

014 AEROBIC OVERLOAD: VOLUME REVISITED (Part 2)
by Michael J. Stott
Last month, Swimming World examined the role of volume in aquatic training. This month, some of America’s most successful swimmers share how volume shaped their development.

042 Q&A WITH COACH TOM JOHNSON
by Michael J. Stott

044 HOW THEY TRAIN EMILY OVERHOLT AND MARKUS THORMEYER
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

011 DRYSIDE TRAINING: THE NEED FOR STRENGTH
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

046 UP & COMERS: ZACH TOWER
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS & SPECIAL SECTIONS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

010 THE OFFICIAL WORD

019 DID YOU KNOW? NO TO TOPLESS BATHING; HIGH DIVING; AND FIRST FULLY AUTOMATIC ELECTRONIC TIMING SYSTEM

029 2020 AQUATIC DIRECTORY

041 DADS ON DECK

047 GUTTERTALK

048 PARTING SHOT

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