Olympic mentorship

Canadian Olympian Brent Hayden works with swimmers from the Penticton Pikes, KISU and Summerland's Orca club over weekend

OLYMPIC SWIMMING medalist Brent Hayden showed swimmers what they were doing incorrectly during a two-day aquatic camp last weekend in Penticton.

OLYMPIC SWIMMING medalist Brent Hayden showed swimmers what they were doing incorrectly during a two-day aquatic camp last weekend in Penticton.

For most athletes, reaching the top is not easy and nobody knows that better than Canadian swimming sensation Brent Hayden.

In fact, he faced and overcame one of the biggest challenges in his competitive career just before the 2012 Olympics in London.

“I was in my room and my back was in a spasm and for four days I couldn’t walk. I thought I was going to have to retire before the Olympics even started,” recalled Hayden, who went on to win the bronze medal in the 100-metre freestyle. “I’m here today to give back to the swimming community and to give the kids the tools they need in order to perform not only to become great swimmers but inspire them to become great people.”

Hayden, who is originally from Mission and now lives in the Lower Mainland, was in Penticton last weekend with his wife Nadina Zarifeh conducting a two-day aquatic camp hosted by the Penticton Pikes.

Members of the Pikes, KISU and Summerland’s Orca teams took part in the pool and dry-land sessions.

The technical training was important but it was the emotional components the 30-year-old Olympian hoped to help his young students with.

“I tell them my story so they realize it wasn’t easy, I wasn’t born a great athlete. I had to work hard at it but the most important thing was to always have fun and I took that all the way from when I was a little kid to the Olympics,” said Hayden. “I’m trying to use my story to empower them so they realize they can achieve anything if they don’t get discouraged and keep their hearts and minds focused.”

Those aspects were critical to him after the 2004 games in Athens when it looked like his first Olympics would be his last.

In addition to not doing well in the pool, the six-foot-four Hayden was assaulted and arrested by riot police in a case of mistaken identity.

“It was a very emotional time for me and I almost quit swimming after that,” he said.

But keeping his eyes on the prize, and with the help of many others, he stuck with it.

Thirteen-year-old Ben Say, a member of the Penticton Pikes, was among the kids who signed on for the course and at the end of the two days was glad he did.

“It was really awesome. I learned tons. Did every stroke which is good for improving,” said Say. “He (Hayden) was always positive. Really good coach. He watched every single person at this camp and gave them feedback. It was super cool to be coached by someone who had been in the Olympics.”

Hayden intends to build his future around helping kids.

“I don’t want to be another swimmer who just did good,” he said. “I was a young swimmer once too and I understanding the role

I am in now.”



Just Posted

(Drive BC photo)
Vehicle incident closes Highway 3 east of Osoyoos

Drive BC says to avoid the area until the road is clear

Osoyoos chef Murray McDonald was ecstatic upon realizing he scored the $1 million guaranteed prize in the June 2, 2021 Lotto 6/49 draw. (Contributed)
Osoyoos chef ecstatic after bagging $1 million Lotto 6/49 win

Chef Murray McDonald was at home and ready to doze off to sleep when he got a text from his wife

(File photo)
Additional service coming to two Penticton bus routes

Both service changes were made to meet increased demand over the summer

It's believed the Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Sunday night. (Aileen Mascasaet Maningas)
UPDATE: Two churches on band land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Salmon Arm RCMP responded to three incidents involving women concerned for their own safety between June 13 and 17, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP respond to concerns about women being watched, followed

In one of three incidents a woman was invited into a vehicle but declined

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Traffic will be diverted through Radium along highways 93 and 95 as a part of the closures. (Claire Palmer photo)
Extended closures to Trans-Canada Highway announced east of Golden this fall

It’s the second round of extended closures as a part of Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project

Kelowna Cabs’ dispatchers will be coming back to work now that their union and the taxi company have come to an agreement. (Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs dispatchers set to go back to work

The taxi company and the dispatchers’ union have reached an agreement

Wild Sky Sisters
Wild Sky Sisters: Cancer Season

Wild Sky Sisters is a joint venture between Angela Moffitt and Tamara McLellan

A pair of Alberta residents were arrested after police responded to a report of a woman who had allegedly been assaulted and confined against her will on June 20, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP arrest 2 Albertans suspected in alleged assault, unlawful confinement

Firearms, stolen items seized including NHL hockey cards believed to be worth thousands

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

Most Read