Portrait of a Master: Nigel Kemp (CAN)


Nigel Kemp (CAN)

Information for this article was supplied courtesy of Diana Smith (www.mymsc.ca)

Nigel Kemp, President of Masters Swimming Canada (MSC), is also a Master course conductor in Canada’s National Coaching Certification Program and a contributing author to Swim Canada and FINA technical manuals. He is a multiple award-winning coach, as well as a ten-time Canadian Masters champion who competes regularly. Kemp has been in swimming for a total of 55 years. Presently, he both coaches and swims for the Halifax Trojan Masters swim club in the province of Nova Scotia, where he adheres to the “Active for Life” philosophy for the promotion of health and well-being.

As a coach, he is a Canadian swimming icon – for 27 years he coached varsity swimming at Dalhousie University leading the team to 21 Atlantic University Athletic Association championships and 63 Canadian InterUniversity Athletic Union championship medals. Kemp received in 1998 the Distinguished Coaches Award from the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union Swimming Coaches Association, among many other honours. In 1975-76 he coached Nancy Garapick to a world record and two Olympic bronze medals.

Meanwhile, as a Masters coach, Kemp enjoys the challenges Masters Swimmers present. “I enjoy the fact that the swimmers choose to be at the pool and wants to learn how to improve their swimming.” He heralds the benefits of competitive Masters swimming, but admits the “Active for Life” goals can be met through fitness training alone, which is the choice of most Masters Swimming Canada members. However, Kemp observes that participation in competition provides further motivation and a wider range of goals to pursue. “For those who do compete, be it in short course, long course or open water, race participation represents an opportunity to pursue personal challenges and the chance to learn more about ones-self.

He also takes special interest in leading MSC; his aims this year being to take steps to move the organisation toward its vision of becoming a world-leader in adult swimming; one that is “influential, recognised and valued by Canadian swimmers, clubs and partners” by 2011. Steps will be taken according to its values of “Fun and Friendship, Health and Well Being, and Participation and Achievement,” and its mission: “MSC will be a valued partner in the delivery of national programs that enhance swimming for adults of all abilities.”

Kemp adheres to the following number one tip when it comes to Masters coaching: “Always demonstrate, in whatever ways you can, that you care about the swimmers you coach.”