HISTORY OF THE PAN AM DIVING CLUB & REVOLUTION DIVING
At its inception, the Club was combined with a swimming program and called the Winnipeg Aquatic Club. Divers and swimmers trained and competed using outdoor pools in the city.
In 1967, the Pan Am Games were awarded to Winnipeg, and this lead to the building of the first complete indoor swimming and diving complex in Canada. After the Games, local athletes were able to train at Pan Am Pool, a state-of-the-art facility, and Manitoba divers began to be competitive at a national level.
Winnipeg was named as the National Training Centre for Canadian National Team Divers from 1970-1972. Divers came from across Canada to train at the Pan Am Pool under National Team Coach, Don Webb. The National Team decentralized in 1973.
After the 1972 Olympics, a former National Team Member, Nancy Robertson (now Brawley), became the Pan Am Diving Club’s first Head Coach. She developed a strong program from 1973 to 1978. Following Nancy were a number of coaches who contributed to the history of the Pan Am Diving Club, such as Lester Newby, Donald Dion, John Webster and Al Einarson.
In 1981, Jim Lambie, came to Winnipeg to assume the duties of Head Coach of the club. The club developed young protégés Angela Borthwick, Jeff Liberty, and Geoff Ritz. Jim developed a base of assistant coaches, and in the 1980’s the Pan Am Diving Club was considered to have one of the strongest competitive programs in Canada. In 1983, Pan Am Divers Jennifer McArton, Cathy Jacobson and Deanne McClennaghan swept two events at the Junior National Championships. Jennifer McArton became the youngest diver to ever represent Canada at a Senior World Championship. At 12 years old she placed 12th in the ten-meter platform event in Guyaquil, Equator. In 1990, junior divers Geoff Ritz and Jeff Liberty represented Canada at the Junior Can Am Mex and Angela Borthwick represented Canada at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand. Angela also qualifyied for the 1991 World Aquatic Championships in Perth, Australia. After the 1992 season, Jim Lambie and his Assistant Head Coach and wife, Jayne McDonald, retired from coaching and left Manitoba.
Next, the Pan Am Diving Club hired Mike Mourant, a former Pan Am Diving Club diver, to take over as Head Coach. Mike had been a National Team diver from 1972-1980 with the Pan Am Diving Club, and went on to represent Canada at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Mike Mourant was Head Coach from 1992-1998, and he focused on the development of junior divers. In 1996, Marya Sabesky won a bronze medal at the Junior Naitonals, and in 1997 Kevin Geyson was the Group C platform Champion at the Junior Nationals.
In 1998, Jim Lambie returned as Head Coach. In 2000, Kevin Geyson qualified for Junior World Championships, and in 2001 he was named to the Senior National Team. In 2002, Assistant Head Coach Dallas Ludwick coached Cam McLean to become National Champion in Boys C 3-metre in Newfoundland. In 2003, Cam represented Canada and won a silver medal in the Pan Am Junior Championships in Brazil. In 2004, he was 11th at the Junior World Championships. Cam successfully defended his National Title on 3-metre and/or 1-metre springboard every year for 5 years though Group B and Group A, to complete his junior diving career.
In 2004, the synchronized 3-metre diving team of Jill Gudmandson and Kristin Davies won the silver medal at the Senior Nationals. Kevin Geyson and Lauren Penko competed in the Olympic Trials and Kevin missed the team by one spot. In 2005, Cam represented Canada on the Junior Team in Australia, Germany, the U.S.A. and Malayasia; and Kevin represented Canada on the Senior Team in Germany, China, U.S. and Izmir, Turkey at the World University Games. Both Cam and Kevin were named to the 2006 Commonwealth Games Team in Australia. Lauren made the national team in 2006, representing Canada in Germany and Italy.
From 2006 to 2010, Kevin Geyson won several bronze and silver medals at the Senior National Championships on Men’s 10-metre, and both he and Lauren represented Canada at international Grand Prix events. Kristin Davies attended North Carolina State University on an athletic scholarship, and ended her USA college career by becoming the NCAA Champion on Women’s 10-metre in 2009. She was the first woman in her school’s history to do so.
In 2009, Kristin retired from diving and returned to the Pan Am Diving Club as a coach. But her desire to dive was too strong to give up the sport yet, and after a few months she asked her former coach, Dallas Ludwick who was not coaching at the time, to come back to coaching to coach her. A few months later Kevin Geyson joined them, and by the next fall a new club, REVOLUTION DIVING, was born.
In it’s first year as a club, under Manitoba Regional Diving Centre Head Coach, Dallas Ludwick, Revolution had 6 divers. Kevin Geyson attained personal bests at almost every competition. In 2010, he represented Canada at the Commonwealth Games in Dehli, India where he was 4th in Men’s 10-metre and 3rd in Men’s Synchronized 10-metre with his partner Eric Sehn of Edmonton. In 2011, Kevin became Senior National Champion for the first time, and with Eric was 8th at the World Championships in Shanghai in Men’s Synchronized10-metre. Kristin Davies became one of Canada’s top 10-metre divers and all three junior divers, Morgan Wankling, Aimee Harrison and Lily Kaufmann represented Revolution at the Junior National Championships in Montreal. Dawson Groening also represented PADC at the Junior Nationals.
In the fall of 2011, Revolution Diving and the Pan Am Diving Club amalgamated under the leadership of Dallas Ludwick. New programs were created and new coaches and insructors were trained. A new atmosphere of positivity and productivity developed and spread amongst the athletes, coaches, instructors and other members of the club. The divers went “back to basics” in terms of technique and diving skills, and everyone’s skills improved. Many new divers joined the club, and systematic talent identification began. The veteran divers continued to improve. At the 2011 CAMO International, Kristin Davies won the Silver medal on Women’s 10-metre and Lily Kaufmann made the finals (top 12) in Girls 14-15 platform.
A tragic accident, in which Kevin Geyson was hit by a car travelling in 60 km/hr in China just after competing in the World Championships in July, sidelined him from training while he recovered from a serious concussion, knee surgery and extreme skin wounds. Kevin made an almost unbelieveable recovery that exceeded all medical expecations, and was able to train much sooner than all doctors had predicted. Due to his fierce determination, Kevin was able to compete in the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico the following October. He and Eric Sehn won the Bronze medal in Men’s 10m-metre synchro, a first international medal for both of them. In 2012, Kevin Geyson represented Canada at the Germany Grand Prix, the Canada Cup in Montreal and the USA Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale, FL and the Spanish Grand Prix in Madrid. He and Eric again finished 8th in Men’s Synchronized 10-metre at the World Cup in London, England. They missed an Olympic berth by only 1 placing.
At the 2012 Olympic Trials in Montreal, Kevin was disapointed with his 3rd place finish, and 6 point differencial that left him off the Olympic Team. However, his courage in overcoming recent obstacles, including the car accident, and the dramatic improvement in his diving over the previous two years, made Kevin an inspiriation to many of the best divers across Canada. At the 2012 Age Group Nationals in Saskatoon, Aimee Harrison made the finals (top 12) all all three boards and improved her placement from to 18th to 7th in Girls A 3-metre. Morgan Wankling made her first final and finished 10th on Platform in Girls A.
In 2013, high performance divers Kevin Geyson and Kristin Davies both retired from diving. Aimee Harrison stepped up as Manitoba’s top diver by finishing 4th at the Winter Senior Nationals in front of an excited home crowd here in Winnipeg. (A dramatic improvement from her 21st place finish a year earlier!) She earned a place on the Canadian National Team at the Canada Cup in Gatineau and the Puerto Rico Grand Prix. Aimee went on to win the Bronze Medal at the Summer Senior Nationals in Quebec City, and qualified for the Italy Grand Prix in Bolzano. Meanwhile, the Juniors battled it out for berths on the 2013 Canada Summer Games team. Daniel Theriault, Dawson Groening, Andre Labossiere, Tim Friesen, Morgan Wankling, Mara George, Lily Kaufmann and Natasha Higham competed at the Games in Sherbrooke, QC in August 2013. Dawson, Lily, Natasha and Mara also competed at the Junior Elite Nationals (Groups A & B) in Thunder Bay, and rookie Serena Buchwald competed at the Junior Development Nationals (Groups C & D) in Calgary.
In 2014, our junior divers made huge improvements across all programs. Daniel Theriault and Talia Groening qualified for their first Junior Nationals. Mara George and Dawson Groening made finals at Jr National for the first time. At the senior level, former PADC diver, Cam McLean returned to Winnipeg and represented Revolution at the Winter and Summer Senior Nationals. Both he and Aimee finished in the top 8 at the Summer Senior Nationals hosted here in Winnipeg in 2014. Aimee Harrison, Morgan Wankling and Lily Kaufmann were all offered NCAA scholarships and competed as student athletes in the USA.
2015 was a year of many breakthroughs. Cam McLean was selected for the FINA Grand Prix of Malaysia in October, where he made the semi-finals and finished 7th at his first international competition in many years. Mara George and Brooke Bouchard competed in their first Senior National Championships in Toronto. Mara had an outstanding performance, finishing 8th in Canada and was the 2nd ranked junior diver on 3-metre. Cam regained his former title as the National Champion on 1-metre. Aimee Harrison was 4th on 1-metre and became the first Canadian woman to compete a reverse 2 ½ on 1-metre. At the Junior National Team trials in March, Mara finished 4th in Canada in Girls 16-18 on 3-metre. At the Summer Senior National Championships in Victoria, Cam finished 4th on 3-metre and qualified for the FINA Grand Prix of Spain and the World University Games in Korea. At the World University Games, Cam won the Bronze medal for Canada, along with Celina Toth of Victoria in the Mixed Team event. He also won his semi-final on 1-metre and finished 7th in the finals. At the Junior Elite Nationals, our three rookie divers were outstanding: Brooke Bouchard was 10th in Girls 16-18 1-metre, Katie Bezte was 9th in Girls 16-18 10-metre and Alyssa Gauthier amazed at her first nationals by finishing 5th in Canada in Girls 14-15 3-metre. Serena Buchwald also made her first finals, finishing 12th in Girls 14-15 3-metre, and Mara was 6th in Girls 16-18 on 3-metre!