Pierre Lafontaine is transferring east and goes to coach Chinese language swimmers

The brand new coach of the Chinese language nationwide workforce took workplace on Could 1. He’s already in Hangzhou, the place the Chinese language alternatives for the upcoming World Championships and Asian Video games are happening.

The Chinese language program leaders contacted me final January after which once more in February. However I refused their provides as a result of I felt that the profitable situations weren’t met. We might give you wage, however there isn’t any level in going there if we don’t present the situations for profitable.

: “OK, on te le donne””,”textual content”:”Puis, au début de mars, ils m’ont rappelé pour savoir ce dont j’avais besoin en matière d’équipement et de soutien. Et trois jours plus tard, ils m’ont dit: “OK, on te le donne””}}”>Then, at first of March, they known as me once more to seek out out what I wanted when it comes to tools and assist. And after three days they stated to me: Properly, we’ll give it to you.says the 66-year-old coach.

Pierre Lafontaine was coaching at a Canadian membership within the late Eighties when he moved to the USA to develop membership athletes in Phoenix, Arizona. Within the early 2000s, he grew to become a coach on the Australian Nationwide Improvement Centre. And after Canada’s defeat on the 2004 Athens Olympics, he returned to the nation as coach and normal supervisor of Canadian Swimming, a place he held till 2013.

Amongst his accomplishments was the institution of the Nationwide Heart in Toronto and the appointment of coach Ben Titley, which positioned Canada among the many world’s swimming powers.

In flip, LaFontaine discovered himself on the helm of the Canadian College of Sport, Cross Nation Canada, and Biking Canada. For a number of years, he returned to the world of swimming. He was teaching swimmers at Carleton College and the Ottawa membership when the Chinese language program approached him.


I can be on the Chinese language Nationwide Heart, which is positioned in Beijing. China additionally operates one other nationwide middle positioned at a excessive altitude. I’ll coach 4 or 5 nationwide workforce gamers, and certainly one of my different duties is to assist reorganize the high-performance construction.

There’s a giant group of individuals in China, however not everybody can entry the swimming pool. I wish to assist them create a top-down system by which we do growth by age teamsLafontaine explains.

Nonetheless, even when we will create a perfect construction, it won’t work if individuals don’t adhere to it with conviction. My time period is because of expire in December 2024. Hopefully, my Mandarin can be ok by then to permit me to “promote” this construction with out the assistance of an interpreterhe provides, laughing.

Political relations between Canada and China have soured in recent times. Globally, the extent of stress can also be excessive, and China is consistently making headlines for problems with interference and respect for human rights. Was this side of the equation a part of his pondering earlier than accepting the place?

I’ve been employed to create a sports activities construction and that is the place I’ll dedicate all my power. I’m not right here for any political challenge or state of affairshe solutions.

Pierre Lafontaine in 2008 with the Canadian nationwide workforce on the Beijing Olympics

Picture: The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson


Throughout the Chinese language nationwide program, Pierre Lafontaine joined two different well-known overseas coaches: American Mark Schubert and Australian Denis Cottrell.

Schubert was Group USA’s coach from 2006 to 2010. He was a part of the USA’s teaching groups at seven consecutive Olympics between 1984 and 2008. As for Cottrell, he’s a member of the Australian Sports activities Corridor of Fame, which is saying one thing whenever you be taught that the nationwide sport of this The nation is swimming. Cotterill was a famous coach for Grant Hackett, who was one of the best 1500m swimmer on the planet within the 2000s.

I knew Dennis Cottrell after I was working in Australia and I knew Mark Schubert after I was working within the States. Every of us will lead a gaggle of athletes whereas cooperating with the Chinese language coaches. In brief, we’ll do routing. It’s not good to come back to work right here and depart with out contributing to the event of the coachesas Pierre Lafontaine believed.


The Paris Video games will begin in 15 months. Clearly, the Chinese language are doing their greatest to extend their probabilities of getting medals.

– et je sais que ce n’est pas facile– devenir l’un des trois premiers pays au monde dans ce sport.”,”textual content”:”La Chine a remporté six médailles aux derniers Jeux et ils veulent vraiment s’améliorer. C’est la raison pour laquelle ils sollicitent l’aide d’entraîneurs étrangers. À voir les abilities et les spécimens génétiques qui nagent ici, je pense que la Chine pourrait éventuellement– et je sais que ce n’est pas facile– devenir l’un des trois premiers pays au monde dans ce sport.”}}”>China received six medals within the earlier Video games they usually actually wish to enhance. That’s the reason they search the assistance of overseas coaches. Given the expertise and genetic samples that swim right here, I feel China can finally – and I do know it’s not simple – change into one of many prime three international locations on the earth on this sport.

m libre et au 100m brasse. Et au 200m libre, c’est un Chinois qui détient la 3eplace. L’équipe féminine est un peu plus loin, mais il nous reste 12mois avant les {qualifications} olympiques et 15mois avant les Jeux”,”textual content”:”L’équipe masculine est très forte en ce second. Du côté masculin, ce sont des Chinois qui sont premiers au monde au 100m libre et au 100m brasse. Et au 200m libre, c’est un Chinois qui détient la 3eplace. L’équipe féminine est un peu plus loin, mais il nous reste 12mois avant les {qualifications} olympiques et 15mois avant les Jeux”}}”>The boys’s workforce could be very robust in the meanwhile. On the lads’s entrance, the Chinese language are ranked first on the earth within the 100m freestyle and 100m breaststroke. And within the 200-meter freestyle occasion, a Chinese language completed third. The ladies’s workforce is slightly away, however we now have 12 months earlier than the Olympic Qualifiers and 15 months earlier than the Video gamesremembers Pierre Lafontaine.

Listening to him communicate, the Chinese language are nicely and actually within the last stage of readiness.

It’s good to have a coaching middle at altitude, however you even have to organize the athletes by letting them see, scent and style France. We don’t need them to come back to Paris in the summertime of 2024 feeling a way of surprise.

After the World Championships this summer season, we’ll spend a couple of days in Paris with the nationwide workforce. We’ll permit the athletes to go sightseeing, see the swimming pool and the Olympic Village. The extra comfy they’re with their environment, the higher they’ll carry out in video games.Concludes.

Pierre Lafontaine is the coach of the Chinese language nationwide workforce. What a shock! It’s going to in all probability take a while to get used to.