Canada's high-performance triathletes received a boost of support in their quest for the international podium with the announcement that Philippe Bertrand has been promoted to head coach of the Senior National Team.
Bertrand, who helped lead Simon Whitfield to his electrifying silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing as an assistant coach, brings a wealth of international experience and knowledge to his new role. The 35-year-old Bertrand has worked his way through the Canadian triathlon system over the last 15 years as a national-team athlete, and has coached actively at the provincial, national and international levels since 1998.
"This is a great opportunity to have a Canadian system in Canadian hands," said Kurt Innes, director, high-performance, Triathlon Canada. "Philippe is a workhorse, and played a key role in the final preparations of our medal-winning team last summer in Beijing. He has a proven track record at all levels, and we are extremely excited to have him onboard to help lead Canadian triathletes to more podium finishes in the near future."
Bertrand's record of success also includes leading young Canadian triathletes to world-leading performances at major international events including: Olympics; World Cups; Junior and Under-23 World Championships; and Pan American Games.
"This is truly a dream come true for me to join a strong coaching and technical support team that will lead a group of world-leading athletes," said Bertrand. "I am determined to create an intensive athlete-centred plan that will fully prepare Canadian triathletes with the opportunity to win. We have lots of work to do and I am excited for the challenge ahead."
The Quebec-based Bertand replaces Joel Filliol who stepped down from the head coaching position this winter to pursue a new coaching opportunity in Great Britain.
"I gained a great deal of experience as an assistant to Joel, and from being on the inside with the team in the lead up to the 2008 Olympics that I will carry with me into this new position," said Bertrand. "We have an exciting team that combines veteran leadership and youthful energy, and that is very exciting. Together, we are going to work hard, follow the plan and ultimately win more medals for Canada."
Bertrand has been extremely successful in creating a long-term athlete development model for young athletes in his Quebec-based Tri-O-Lacs Club, which he founded in 2001 and is now one of the largest in the country. As head coach, Bertrand drives the Board and manages eight assistant coaches. Growing the club to 160 athletes since its inception -- many have advanced through his long-term development plan, and are successfully competing on national and provincial junior teams, including Montreal's Kathy Tremblay who made her Olympic debut in 2008.
Tremblay and her senior squad teammates will join Bertrand for his first World Cup event on April 20 in Tongyeong, Korea. Other members of Triathlon Canada's 2009 Team Teck Senior National group includes: Victoria's Simon Whitfield; Edmonton's Paul Tichelaar; Victoria's Brent McMahon; and Kyle Jones, of Oakville, Ont. on the men's team. Kathy Tremblay will be joined by Vancouver's Lauren Groves and Victoria's Kirsten Sweetland in women's racing.
For more information visit Triathlon Canada.