SNC Names John Atkinson New Director of High Performance

Swimming Canada is pleased to announce the hiring of John Atkinson as its new Director of High Performance.

An extensive search identified the longtime British Swimming coach as the person to lead Canada to new heights on the international stage.

"We're excited to have John join Swimming Canada. His expertise, his international experience and his organizational skills will be tremendous assets," said Swimming Canada President David de Vlieger.

Atkinson has been with British Swimming since 2001, most recently as National Performance Director (Paralympic). He led the para-swimming program since 2010, taking the team to every level of competition and culminating in a 39-medal haul at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Previously he served as Director of World Class Programmes (Olympic) and has worked closely with well-known names such as Bill Sweetenham and Michael Scott during British Swimming's most successful years.

"We're sorry to be losing John. He's made a massive contribution to British Swimming both in his time with the swimming programme and latterly by leading the highly successful team to the Paralympics in London," British Swimming Chief Executive David Sparkes said. "However, we also appreciate that John has a passion for swimming and wants to make his mark as a world leader in swimming. We wish him well in Canada and look forward to seeing him in his new role at the next international competition."

Swimming Canada's Vision 2020 strategic plan sets out ambitious goals that make world-leading performance the top priority for Canada. Canada's goal is to rank among the top eight medal-producing nations at the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro and top six in 2020. This position calls for Atkinson to lead the way, developing and implementing programs to achieve Swimming Canada's vision.

"I am delighted to have been appointed to the Director of High Performance role with Swimming Canada," Atkinson said. "The vision and desire of the organization for success was something that impressed me greatly andI am now looking forward to working with all involved on the journey to Rio."

Atkinson will join Swimming Canada on March 1. He will be meeting with the top coaches in the country and getting ready for the WorldChampionships Trials in Victoria from April 3 to 6.

Born in the English town of Chorley, in Lancashire, Atkinson began coaching swimming in 1986. His resume also includes six years working in Australia.

"He has experience around the world and is well-respected by many Canadian coaches who have worked alongside him at the international level or attended his clinics in Canada," added Swimming Canada CEO Pierre Lafontaine.