Junior coach Kiera Hansen with the Elk Valley Dolphins swim team. (Photo contributed by Angie Abdou)

Dolphins Swim into 2021 with New Coaching Staff

Contributed by EVDSC

With Tara Beck moving into a head-coaching role, the Elk Valley Dolphins swim team has added a new back-up coaching roster. Past Dolphins’ Coach Angie Abdou has accepted the assistant coach role.

Abdou has been competitive swimming since 1973, on the Thunder Bay Thunderbolts, the Moose Jaw Kinsmen Flying Fins, the Regina Optimist Dolphins, The University of Western Ontario Mustangs, The Fernie Bullies (Masters), and currently the Elk Valley Dolphins’ Masters.

She is excited for the opportunity to return to coaching. “Swimming has given me so much – fitness, friendships, goal-setting skills, an appreciation for hard work, travel opportunities … even a husband! I’m delighted to share my love of this great sport with young swimmers.”

The Dolphins will also be adding a team of junior coaches made up of teenagers currently competing with the club: Tatum Kipnik, Kiera Hansen, and Holly Soetaert. “Encouraging our senior swimmers to coach is a no-brainer for me,” says Coach Beck.

“Having swimmers who are passionate about the sport teaching younger swimmers with that passion is a win-win all around.”

At eighteen years old, Tatum Kipnik has been competing for the Dolphins for eight years. She excels in the breaststroke events.

She has been accepted at Stevenson University in Baltimore, Maryland and is currently entertaining other recruiting offers before making a final decision.

“I look forward to stepping back into my coaching shoes. I enjoy seeing the smiles on the swimmers’ faces, sharing my knowledge of the sport, and helping them achieve their goals,” she said.

Kipnik is grateful to the Dolphins’ coaches for her success in the sport.

“Both Aidan and Tara have helped me improve my swimming and coaching skills. Without their help, I wouldn’t be where I am with my swimming career, and without Aidan’s help I would not be where I am with my recruiting journey in the United States. I am extremely grateful for the two of them.”

Kiera Hansen is fifteen years old in her second season with the Dolphins, having previously competed with the Canadian Badlands Aquatic Club and the Hanna Seals.

She specializes in the 200 butterfly and 400 Freestyle. Her greatest accomplishment to date is winning a bronze medal at the Alberta Summer Swim Provincials.

She is excited to connect with young swimmers and will model her approach on the coaches who have taught her that she is capable of accomplishing more than she imagined.

Holly Soetaert is seventeen years old and has been with the Elk Valley Dolphins for nine years.

She has had her best success in the 100 backstroke but has recently begun to enjoy and excel in the 400 individual medley as well.

Her proudest swimming moments have been qualifying for the Manitoba Saskatchewan Provincials and competing for Zone 1 in the BC Summer Games in 2016.

Holly says her coaching goal is to be “a positive role model for the children that I coach, as well as creating a fun learning environment so that hopefully they will love swimming as much as I do.”

The biggest lessons she has learned from her swimming coaches is “there is no point in continuing to do something if you are not having fun.”

Holly Soetaert, along with the rest of the Elk Valley Dolphins’ coaching staff, will endeavour to make swim practices fun and keep our young athletes excited about coming to the pool.

With this strong coaching base, the team eagerly awaits the day that current challenges abate, allowing the team to open lane space – and opportunities for fun – to more young swimmers.

“With this team of coaches,” says Tara Beck, “I am excited to build our program, albeit slowly, as COVID-19 restrictions ease up, and we can safely increase our numbers at the pool.”


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Junior coach Tatum Kipnik with the Elk Valley Dolphins swim team. (Photo contributed by Angie Abdou)

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