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The life lessons learned from sport

Posted by on in Atlantic Place
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What’s the best thing about competitive sports? The competition, the personal growth, the unspoken bond between athletes. And how do you achieve all that? Training! Just ask head honchos Chris and Justin, and their new friend Dave Ling!


Chris: Being benched bites - but your recovery is too important to rush the process. We know your results matter, so it’s time to put in the work! 


b2ap3_thumbnail_Justin.pngJustin: Dave is the new coach of the St. John’s Legends Swim Team. He and his wife Nathalie moved to St. John’s in August after he spent eight years as the second in command of the Toronto Swim Club - yes, the one where four-time Olympic swimming medalist Penny Oleksiak trained.

 When you’re done, you’re done



Chris: Dave swam competitively for 17 years, representing Canada in international competition, competing twice at Olympic Trials, spent three years as captain of the University of Toronto and swam All-Canadian Intercollegiate Sport in 2004.
Then at 24, he walked away from the sport.

“I worked for Xerox for a while, I was done with swimming. Then the head coach at the Toronto Swim Club asked if I could help out once a week, and then twice a week, then three times, you know how that goes.”

Don’t call it a comeback


Justin: For eight years, Dave worked as the second coach, and at the end of the Olympic training cycle, started looking for a head coaching job from coast to coast.
He and Nathalie settled on St. John’s and he’s been walking to the Aquarena every morning since.


“I love walking to work. Working with children you need to be in the right headspace and that walk in the morning works,” Dave says.


Chris: But don’t ask him about other sports; cause when you’re a competitive swimmer, that’s your focus. Dave is a certified level II coach and is currently working through the process to become a chartered professional coach.



Tips top swimming


Justin: So we asked Dave about training, and he gave us three great tips to get better at sport - especially swimming!




  1. Consistency; especially swimming. When you’re a runner, you’re basically warming up all day. Walking, moving from one place to another. Water is a different medium to train in, you have to have a relationship with it.
    So whether you train twice or 10 times a week, do it at the same time - every time.
  2. Injury awareness and prevention is essential - especially for kids! We often will run or play soccer with the kids because swimming can cause a lot of shoulder stress, and for kids with young, growing joints, that’s a problem.


    “At Legends we’re trying to raise athletes, more so than just swimmers.”

  3. For swimming specifically; learn to kick! Using the lower half of your body is everything for a competitive swimmer, so we really focus on the push off the wall when we teach kids to swim. Triathletes come in a put flippers on, but that defeats the purpose.

Bonus tip for better swimming: No matter which of the four basic strokes you’re doing, build the stroke from the outside in. Be aware of your hands, they need to be right at the top of your stroke.

Synchronized swimming

b2ap3_thumbnail_Chris.pngChris: Dave’s big focus right now is work - he’s trying to set up shop in the Wedgewood Park facility, under construction by the city. Partnerships are the cornerstone to that work Dave says, which is why when he’s not working, he’s learning about the city and meeting people.



“My favourite thing about sports is the community. You care as much as they do. This is something people talk about around the dinner table, so it’s important.” 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Justin.pngJustin: Of course, the couple is also doing all the touristy things like checking out Cape Spear and enjoying the nature they aren’t used to, being from Toronto.



 Dive in!


Chris: Interested in getting your kids involved with swimming? Tryouts for the Legends team will be held again in January. If you’re interested in getting touch with Dave about swimming or training, reach him on twitter at @CoachDLing or at

b2ap3_thumbnail_Justin.pngJustin: If you’re looking for other training tips and tricks, book an appointment online today, or sign up for our newsletter, get tips in your inbox and you could win a massage!





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About the author:

Justin has a passion for physiotherapy, which is why he partnered to create ProActive Physiotherapy. He’s since taken on a business role, but still likes to work with patients on a regular basis.


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