Ottawa, ON – Swimming Canada proudly announces its team that will represent the nation at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival from January 15-18, 2009. The Canadian squad will take part in a 4-day meet competing against the Worlds best under-17 swimmers. These up and comers will race in the Sydney Olympic Games facility.

“These young swimmers will be challenging for a spot on Canada’s 2012 Olympic Team,” said Pierre Lafontaine, CEO and National Coach for Swimming Canada.

“By competing at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, these 16 athletes will get a taste of how exciting it is to represent their country on a World stage. They will race the best, interact with athletes from other sports, and live a games village.”

The Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) was initiated by the Australian Olympic Committee following the success of 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. The AYOF was first held in Sydney in January 2001, and has been held bi-annually ever since. In 2009, over 2500 athletes and officials from 25 countries will be competing in 21 different sports.

Canada’s youth Team will be led by Coaches Cliff Noth of North Bay Ontario and Sylvain Pineau of Scarborough.

Hilary Bell (Toronto ON), Dominique Bouchard (North Bay, ON), Bobbie Mielnichuk (Edmonton, AB), Bronwyn Pasloski (Whitehorse, YK), Beatrice Pineau (Boischatel,QC), Chelsey Salli (Langley, BC), Tess Simpson (Ingleside, ON) and Chantal Van Landeghem (Winnipeg, MN) will represent the women’s team.

On the men’s side, Chad Bobrosky (Calgary, AB), David Dimitrov (Calgary, AB), Graham Hawes (Scarborough, ON), James Kendrick (Calgary, AB), Braeden Newton (St.Albert, AB), Austin Rockett (Mississauga, ON), Zachary Somjen (Vancouver, BC) and Karl Wolk (Calgary, AB).

These future Olympic Champions will get to experience an environment reminiscent of an Olympic Games.

Many of Canada’s top senior athletes are graduates of this highly competitive international Youth-aged event.