High Performance team expands in lead up to Tokyo

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National Team

RCA is pleased to announce that Michelle Darvill and Lesley Thompson-Willie have been named Senior National Team Women’s Program Assistant Coaches in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Darvill and Thompson-Willie will work alongside Women’s Program Head Coach Dave Thompson and Assistant Coach Phil Marshall to develop and deliver a world-class high performance environment that ensures the success of Canada’s national team at key international events and the 2020 Olympic Games.

Michelle Darvill has extensive experience coaching with the Canadian National Team, having served in assistant and lead coach roles with the Senior and NextGen Women’s Teams from 2004 to 2018. As an NCCP certified Performance Coach, she has led numerous crews to podium finishes at the World Championships, World U23 Championships, and Pan American Games.

Prior to coaching, Darvill represented both Canada and Germany internationally, winning World Championship medals for both countries, one gold and one silver for Canada, and two gold and one bronze for Germany.

“I’m looking forward to collaborating with all of the amazing athletes and coaches whom I have grown to know very well over the years,” said Darvill. “I believe we all bring a unique coaching skill set that will significantly contribute to our success in Tokyo.” 

Lesley Thompson-Willie served as an Assistant Coach under Dave Thompson in 2017 and 2018, leading Canada’s U23 women’s eight to back-to-back World Championship gold. An NCCP certified Performance Coach, Thompson-Willie has coached numerous Canadian crews to international podium success since 2004.

In addition, Thompson-Willie was a long-time member of the National Team, having won multiple medals at the Olympics (one gold, three silver, one bronze) and World Championships (one gold, four silver, five bronze) as a coxswain since 1979.

“I am thrilled to be rejoining the team and supporting RCA’s performance goals in the lead up to Tokyo 2020,” said Thompson-Willie. “I’m really looking forward to working with an outstanding team of coaches and highly dedicated group of elite athletes on their journey to the Olympic Games.”

“RCA’s High Performance Program is very fortunate to have the knowledge and experience that both Michelle and Lesley bring to the Women’s Program and most importantly to the entire National Team Program,” said RCA High Performance Director, Iain Brambell. “Confirming these coaching appointments is a decisive and critical step forward to Canada’s success in Tokyo.” 

These coaching positions are financially supported by Sport Canada and Own the Podium.