Keast will be making the move back to his hometown from Victoria, where he has served as Director of Swimming and Head Coach of Island Swimming Club for nearly two years. Previously he spent seven years at Winskill Dolphins Swim Club in Tsawwassen, B.C., including five as head coach. His swimmers there included Markus Thormeyer, now an Olympian who trains at the HPC – Vancouver and has won relay medals at Pan Am Games and FINA World Junior Championships.
Keast will work full-time with HPC – Vancouver Head Coach Tom Johnson to coach the athlete group within the daily training environment at home and on training camps. He will contribute to the yearly training planning and budgeting process and execute a plan for proactive recruitment of athletes.
Keast’s experience includes a role on the coaching staff of the 2015 FINA World Junior Championships, where Thormeyer contributed to a gold medal in the 4×100-m freestyle mixed relay.
Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson said the 31-year-old is an example of a young Canadian coach who has developed and grown into new opportunities.
“We have worked with and seen Ben develop over the last few years in various situations such as the Swimming Canada Select Coaches Group, on teams, with his club coaching positions and with his athletes making Swimming Canada teams,” Atkinson said. “We are confident Ben will bring this experience into the role and it’s great to see a young Canadian coach taking an opportunity such as this.”
Keast is looking forward to working in the High Performance Centre environment, which includes a well-rounded team of integrated support staff.
“I’m so excited to be working with Tom and the whole staff at Swimming Canada,” Keast said. “I’m looking forward to supporting Tom so he’s able to prepare his athletes optimally for Tokyo 2020, while we work on finding the next group of athletes for 2024 and beyond. I can’t wait to contribute in any way I can.”
Johnson, a longtime national team coach, expects Keast to be a positive addition to the staff.
“I am pleased to welcome Ben into the HPC-Vancouver program,” Johnson said. “We look forward to him bringing his experience, enthusiasm and expertise to the swimmers and staff as we prepare for the upcoming international events leading towards Tokyo 2020.”
“He is one of the best younger coaches in Canada,” added Martyn Wilby, Swimming Canada’s Senior Coach Olympic Program. “He will be a great addition to Tom’s program and we hope to see him continue to develop as a coach under Tom’s tutelage.”