Parksville’s Nicholas Bennett began training at Swimming Canada’s high performance training centre in Montreal in January but that was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mike Thompson, Canadian head coach of the para swimming intensive training program in Quebec, said Bennett has returned home. He encouraged all athletes to return home when things shut down due to the coronavirus and was concerned that the athletes would not be able to make it home at a later date.
To make sure that Bennett continues his training regiment, Thompson and their integrated support team have worked hard to supply a smart and informed personal program for all the athletes at home.
“In an effort to keep him safe we had him doing more biking and strength which he can do in the safety of his home,” said Thompson. “His sister Haley has been very helpful helping him train and his family has been extremely supportive during this time.”
Bennett and all other athletes meet via Zoom to update, plan and get some feedback. Thompson said that some of them, including Bennett, have been connecting online to play video games together.
The 17-year-old Bennett has made a strong case to land one of the spots on Team Canada for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo after achieving a banner 2019 that saw him win gold medals in two major competitions as well as setting world short-course records and Canadian marks.
Thompson said that he and everyone including Bennett is disappointed that the Paralympics have been postponed.
“We understand why the decision was made and we support the COC and CPC in their stance on the games,” said Thompson. “Canada’s decision to pressure a postponement made us all proud to be part of Team Canada. We do intend on getting back together as soon as it is safe to do so.”