Enniskillen Lakelanders are starting another new season and to this end they are having a tryout session for new members on Saturday morning which coach Rob Enyon is urging young athletes to attend.

A Canadian native, Rob Enyon has been the coach of the Lakelanders since January this year and has admitted he has found the early stages of his mission quite challenging.

He is, however, looking forward to the new season.

Mark Conway asked the new coach a few questions.

MC: What is your swimming background and how did you end up in Enniskillen?

RE: My swimming background basically came from both by way of my parents, that is how they met. All of their siblings swam for the local YMCA. Growing up my uncle and father had been close friends. My aunt Bec competed in the British Empire Games.

My father was both a university professor, and the college’s coach for thirty years. At very young age my sister and I would go to morning practices where we would be paid a penny a lap.

This practice ended when it became too expensive for him. At that time (six years old ) I joined the local YMCA team with whom, for a 16 year period, I would swim on and off.

As any Canadian boy I was greatly involved in ice hockey, but I also was very involved in Track and Field. There were times when there were just too many activities.

In college, I swam for the Drury College Panthers, a perennial national championship team, for which I was probably the slowest swimmer. From there I transferred to Springfield College, which I loved, but after a year could not afford.

Having family connections enabled me to gain my first full time job (I had done some coaching with my father).

Having enjoyed that initial experience I began to seek out world class coaches that would pay me a pittance, but provide me with coaching knowledge. I still seek their advice. From these apprenticeships I had assisted in coaching five Olympians, the most notable being Inge de Bruijn (four time Olympic gold medalist and four world records.

As an assistant, I had gone the route of large teams, two - three hundred swimmers which was enjoyable as an assistant, but head coaches on those teams spend most of their time doing administration (which was definitely not me). I had coached in Cairo, where I had over 200 swimmers, a staff of about twenty (most did not speak English). The experience was great, but I knew it was the coaching I wanted not the paperwork.

Later on in choosing two jobs between Los Angeles and Cornwall Ontario, I chose Cornwall. Small town 70 swimmers, a perfect fit. From that small team we had five senior national qualifiers, four Olympic trial swimmers and two swimmers on Canada’s national team, both who won medals in international competitions.

I had been living in Wales, but was not happy. So I began searching for teams that I thought might fit with my characteristics, and found Enniskillen.

MC: How have you found the club and the area in your first year here?

RE: I have found this year to be challenging in a couple of ways, changing techniques, but mostly trying to teach swimmers and parents that the only way to really succeed is through commitment. By this I mean daily practices without continual breaks or holidays. Dedicated swimmers become the successful athlete.

The area to me is beautiful, small surrounded by lakes, no snow. Every person I have talked to has been friendly and engaging. Going home for a holiday was not easy.

MC: What are hopes and aims for the club as a whole in the new season?

RE: This past season saw some success, but my hopes is that as we move forward, all swimmers learn and master new skills, and that we see a progression of more swimmers to the higher levels of Irish swimming. I want to develop an entire team of great swimmers.

MC: Why should young people join the Lakelanders and what will they achieve from being a members?

RE: Young people should join our team because it can be an enjoyable group of mates and they learn greater swimming skills that they can enjoy for a lifetime. If they choose, they can compete ( which is both challenging and fun ), the exercise is fantastic and transfers well to other sports. Mostly they get to become friends with some really nice people. Aside from becoming better swimmers, as athletes, swimmers score quite high scholastically.

MC: In terms of your elite swimmers, what can they achieve this season?

RE: I would prefer the term ‘good’ swimmers. If they commit to learning new skills, and have exemplary attendance they may achieve incredible things; if the work has been done. One young swimmer achieved incredible results, and even she has much to learn for her to make national teams. Swimmers and parents need to learn swim meets are made in practice; not at the gala.

MC: Tell us a little about the tryout session?

RE: I would like to encourage all children that can swim one length to come tryout for our team. Both the swimmers and parents are friendly and encouraging to all that participate. The details are: Pre-requisites are the kids must be at least 7 years old and be able to swim at least 100m in a recognised stroke. The Assessment session takes place on Saturday, September 9 at 10am at the Lakeland Forum. Please email info@enniskillenlakelanders.com with swimmer’s name and DOB to book a place, in advance.