Rugby Player Matthew Heaton Finishes Up European Tour with Canadian Senior Team
Rugby player Matthew Heaton was home for the holidays, having finished a European tour with the Canadian Senior Team only this past summer.
Rick Pratt named best coach at the Western Athletic Conference
For the third time, Rick Pratt (left) was named head coach of the year at the Western Athletic Conference.
For twelve years now, Rick Pratt has been coaching the Aggies from New Mexico State University. The swimmers have been improving steadily under the leadership of their instructor from Huntingdon, so much so that Pratt was named coach of the year for the third time at the University's athletic conference.
It sounds strange to have learned to swim in Huntingdon and then end up coaching in New Mexico. Rick Pratt
"It's an award that is voted on by peers which adds to the honour," Pratt explained. "This award is a reflection of the team's performance. The girls worked really hard and I'm proud of them."
He has been head coach of the women's swimming and diving team at New Mexico State University since 2005. The team is comprised of some 30 athletes. "The season has just ended and the team came in second at the Western Athletic Conference for the third time in a row," he indicated. "We were only 64 points behind first place which is a small margin. With only one team member graduating, hopes are high for next year."
A positive influence
Pratt's first strokes in swimming were at the Huntingdon pool. His parents, his mother still lives in Huntingdon, then registered him with the Valleyfield Swim Club where his interest really clicked. "I learned to work hard and with determination," he stated. "I became a better swimmer and consequently a better person."
His journey then took him to Châteauguay where there was a better team. He remembers his coaches Marie Rochefort and Lois Daigneault who had a positive influence on his direction.
His American adventure began in Alabama where he received a scholarship to study at the State University. It was also at his alma mater that he started his career as a coach.
"There's something special about seeing 18 year old kids become adults by the time they are 22 at the end of their university studies," admits Pratt. "I like my job right now with the excellent progress the team has made and I can't imagine leaving the program."
-Coach of Aggies swimming and diving teams at New Mexico State University since 2005
-Since his arrival, swimmers have broken 58 records at the university and won17 individual titles at the WAC Championships
-Named best coach at the WAC in 2009, 2010 and 2017
-Assistant coach at the University of Las Vegas for two years where he specialized in breast stroke technique and also at Rutgers with short and long distance swimmers
-While a volunteer coach at the University of Alabama, his athlete, Anna Poleska, brought home a Bronze medal from the Athens Olympics (200 m breast stroke)
-He swam for five years with the Crimson Tide at the University of Alabama. Named team captain, he received the Marshall Shoemaker prize for his hard work as a coach
-He participated in two Olympic tryouts in 1996.
Translated by Cathleen Johnston
Performance has been improving steadily since Pratt started coaching women's swimming at New Mexico State University.