SNB Volunteers 2021: Awards Winners

Swimming NB wishes to recognize the priceless efforts of our volunteers in celebration of the National Volunteer Week. Thank you to all our coaches, officials, administrators for the immeasurably valuable work you have done to keep NB swimmers in the water during the pandemic

We are delighted to announce our three 2021 Volunteer Award winners: Gary Losier, Bridget Tutschka, and Karl Russel. Congratulations!

Gary Losier is a long-standing member of the Swim New Brunswick community.  Gary’s love of swimming began over 30 years ago when each of his daughters were members of the Saint John Fundy Tide Swim Team.  As Chair of the Swim New Brunswick Officials Committee for the fifth consecutive year, and a long standing senior official in the province, Gary is part of the Swim Canada Officials Committee responsible for the strategic review and development of referee certification standards. He continues to foster the growth of swimming in New Brunswick as a long-serving member of the executive of the Saint John Fundy Tide swim team, and represented New Brunswick at both regional and national swimming events.  Gary is well known in any official’s room in the Atlantic Region and provided mentorship to more than 10 new certified level 4 referees and countless senior officials in the province in the last 5 years.  Gary continues to be a supporter of competitive swimming throughout the pandemic and has played a key role in ensuring Swim New Brunswick’s officials could adapt quickly to the amended Swim Canada competition rules, and the province’s swim teams have the support on-deck support needed to keep our swimmers in the water during the pandemic.

Bridget Tutschka is a member of TIDE’s board and is a medical doctor. She has been a key advisor in the COVID operating plans and protocols for both the club’s regular swim program and theTime Trials and meets held this year. She has logged many hours helping to write the plans, having meetings with all parents prior to swimmers being able to enter the pool to ensure both parents and swimmers understand the protocols, being at the pool to make sure the coaches, (especially junior coaches), swimmers and parents understand and are properly implementing our operating plan. She has also been at every Time Trial and meet, acting as the COVID safety coordinator, making sure the meet protocols are being followed. Bridget also stays on top of any provincial guideline changes for each of the recovery “phases” and any changes that means for our club’s protocols. Along with this, Bridget has continued as TIDE recruitment/new swimmer coordinator. This has been a busy job, too. As swimming continues to be a safe sport, we have had numerous new swimmers looking to join TIDE this season. For Bridget, this means coordinating an assessment time with the swimmer and coach and communicating with the registrar about new swimmers. Bridget’s hard work has ensured all of TIDE programs are full, with a waiting list.

Karl Russel has been the head Coach this year for the entire St. Stephen Swim Team and has excelled as the Coach during this difficult year with the Covid Protocols and ensuring our swimmers are safe yet still leading the Team who range from all ability levels in a fun team oriented environment. Karl is an high energy, motivated individual who never misses a practice with a very well organized plan and runs practices for each age group. Karl has compassion for each of the swimmers and is a role model for them, especially in the older age group. Karl relates to the Team and listens to their concerns and fears but at the same time communicates with each of them and supports where they are and encourages them to push harder and set goals which are being achieved both at practice and at Competitions. As a volunteer, Karl is teaching himself and spending many hours outside the pool studying videos, taking courses, liaising with other Coaches to ensure continued improvement of the swimmers and the Team. Most importantly, Karl is kind, caring, and ensures his Team has a positive environment – Karl is very deserving of Volunteer of the Year!!