Head Coach – Carmen Thorburn, ChPC

carmenpic2015lrCarmen came to HAC from Mexico where she was an integral part of her club’s program working with the International & Age Group swimmers, as well as developing their swim school lesson program. Carmen has an extensive resume that includes coaching at the Olympic Games as well as the World Championships. More recently, Carmen has been awarded the professional designation of Chartered Professional Coach, the highest level of certification, and continues to work at her Canadian certification – she is currently NCCP level 2 certified and working toward her NCCP level 3.  She has produced many new national qualifiers since her arrival at HAC. We are very lucky to have such an accomplished coach to lead and mentor our coaching staff.

Coach – Prisciliana Escobar


Priscy will start her 6th season with us. She was a competitive swimmer for over 18 years, Mexican National team member for over 10 years, racing at international meets such as Pan Am Games, World Cup, University World Games and more. She was the Mexican record holder in the 200 Fly.  Priscy is NCCP level 2 certified, and NLS certified, as well as a recent graduate of Mexican Law School. Under her guidance, she has produced several festival qualifiers, regional qualifiers and more!  We are looking forward to having her work with various levels this year, as we are sure her experience and knowledge will keep producing better HAC competitors.

Coach – Lisa Hodge

lisapic2015lrLisa represents the traditional HAC swimmer. Plucked from swim lessons at a local recreation centre, she started late, swimming from age 11 through her years at university. HAC alumnus and avid educator, Lisa has been a development coach with HAC for over 10 years and is excited to grow the next wave of HAC talent in the Level 1 Black group. This group will focus on mastering fundamentals and tweaking technique while improving kick and learning how to read the pace clock.  Coach Lisa is driven by her ongoing goal to develop 10 & under Regional and potential Festival qualifiers, while instilling the love of sport. A level 2 NCCP certified coach, Coach Lisa advocates effort and skills; “100%; no regrets.”

Coach & Novice Coordinator – Melanie Price

melaniepic2015lrMelanie will start her 5th season with HAC as our novice coordinator. Under her hard work, our novice program has grown through the years. Melanie’s strong club loyalty stems from swimming with HAC in her youth.  In her personal career as an athlete, she has completed several triathlons including the Ironman.  She also completed a 42KM solo swim across lake Ontario in 2011 (in just over 18 hours!); a very impressive achievement. With all this experience as an athlete herself, along with her passion for swimming and a true vocation with children, she brings a very special touch to our program.  She is NCCP level 1 certified. HAC is very proud to have Melanie as part of our family and we are looking forward to having her dedication again for 2016-17 season!

OWAY Coordinator, Jr Masters Coach – Theresa Malar

theresapic2015lrTheresa graduated from McMaster University a Bachelor of Arts in Literature. She is NLS certified, NCCP level 1 certified, and a Healthy Child Development Trainer of trainers. Theresa is joining HAC for the first time in many years as our Olympic Way program coordinator and will also work with various other groups. She comes from a family of swimmers, including Olympian Joanne Malar. Her experience and natural connection with this sport will enhance our program in many ways. We are excited to bring back Theresa to the club where she grew as a swimmer. We are positive her work ethic and dedication will make our OWAY swimmers even more successful.

Coach – Susana Escobar

susypic2015lrSusy is starting her fourth year working for HAC. She is a two time Olympian (Beijing 2008 and London 2012), a current Mexican record holder in 3 Olympic events, as well as a current HAC record holder. Susy graduated from University of Texas (where she had a 100% swimming scholarship) in Health Promotion and Fitness. During her 4 years of studies she was on the BIG 12 honor roll. Her international experience and her preparation brings a unique asset to our HAC staff. Her desire to do big things in the sport will make a difference with the kids, and we are happy to have her back and seeing her on deck! Susy is NCCP Level 1 certified.

Novice Coach – Mike Butler

butler-june-07Mike is returning to HAC after a short sabbatical from the pool, and brings with him over 15 years of coaching experience.  Mike is certified NCCP Level 2 and a former lifeguard, and a HAC alumnus who enjoyed swimming through his high school years.  Mike has developed many regional and festival qualifiers, with several of his former development swimmers active in the club’s top group.  He also graduated his own two children from the program.  We are pleased to have Mike return to the fold and anticipate great results in the critical development of the youngest of our HAC swimmers.

Novice Coach – Alison Russell

butler-june-07Alison started her swimming career with her home club, the Pickering Swim Club at the age of 7. During her swim career she achieved qualifying times at the Jr. and Sr. Provincial level as well as Age Group Nationals and Eastern level qualifying times. While attending McMaster University, in the Commerce Program she swam competitively for 3 years and assisted the women’s team to place top 3 in the Ontario University Association. In the 2015-2016 academic year, her love of swimming continued as she became Team Manager and Assistant Coach for the McMaster Varsity Swim Team after retiring from her 15 years of  competitive swimming.

This year, Alison is the newest member to join the Novice Group. She will be joining Mike, Sam, Melanie and Susie in making this the best novice development phase HAC has had in a decade!

Assistant Coach – Sam Forrester

sampic2016Sam is returning this year to assist Susy with levels 2-3 Gold and with Melanie’s Level 1 Gold. He had a very successful year last year working/assisting with level 3/4 Black and 1/2 Gold. Sam is a McMaster student and City of Hamilton lifeguard, and will continue to bring his enthusiasm to the pool deck. He is NCCP level 1 trained, NLS certified, and has also successfully completed his instructors course.