VICTORIA, British Columbia (AP) Longtime Canadian swim coach Randy Bennett has died. He was 51.
Swimming Canada, the sport’s domestic governing body, said he died Monday night. Bennett recently was diagnosed with skin cancer.
Bennett was the national coach at the 2012 London Olympics and has coached Canada’s top senior teams at every major international competition since 2009.
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”He loved our sport, he cherished his athletes and he proudly represented his family and Canada,” Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi said. ”He was a man of remarkable courage and strength of character. His achievements are too numerous to name but what stands out most is that he inspired others to achieve and they did. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.”
Bennett helped Ryan Cochrane win a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Games and a silver in London, both in the 1,500-meter freestyle. He worked with 2013 world championship medalist Hilary Caldwell and 2012 Olympian Alec Page.
”We’ve lost a mentor, a visionary, and a friend,” Cochrane said in a statement. ”Randy’s ability to fight for what was right is a tenet we must all continue to uphold. He expected nothing except the absolute best from each and every person he touched.
”Coaching was his passion and his life, and I know he has had a profound impact on my life both in and out of sport. I would not be the athlete or person I am today without him. The values and imagination Randy instilled in all of his athletes will live on and that’s a testament to his love of swimming.”
Bennett is survived by wife Lesley and teenage sons Brett and Kyle.
”Despite the rapid progression of his disease Randy remained focused on his family and the athletes he coached,” said national team physician Steve Keeler, who acted as Bennett’s primary physician, working alongside a team of specialists. ”His strength through this journey was impressive.”