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Coach Bios

jack vandyk

Jack VanDyk

Training Since: 1996
Specialty Areas: Training Program Optimization for Cycling and Triathlon

Background: Jack is the founder of the Talisman Centre Triathlon Club and Endurance Training Systems (ETS) programs and services with over 15 years of personal training and coaching experience. He completed a Masters of Kinesiology Degree at the University of Calgary where he researched the impact of strength training on cycling specific power along with the Periodization and preparation for Mountain Bike racing. Jack coaches several local professional triathletes and performance driven road cyclists from Cat 4 to Cat 2 and was Simon Whitfield's cycling consultant in 2011-2012.

Interests: Jack continues to study all facets of training and preparation for events ranging from road cycling to Olympic and Ironman distance triathlon. He is an expert in using a power metre to analyze performance and optimize one's training!

Jack's approach is to help athletes understand the "whys" of training and educate them so they can best adapt and balance their training with the demands of life.

jon bird

Jon Bird

Coaching Since: 2007
Specialty Areas: Swimming Technique, Triathlon and Endurance Training

Background: Jon was introduced to competitive sports at the age of four, when he was enrolled in the University of Calgary Tiny Olympic Prospects swim program. Throughout his development, Jon competed with the National and Varsity level swim teams for 18 years and used triathlon in the off-season to calm his competitive nerves and to stay fit. Leveraging his competitive experience, Jon is now working as a Sport Development Manager at Talisman Centre while also competing professionally as a triathlete.

Interests: Jon's ambitions to compete on the Canadian National Team came to fruition in 2010 when he was selected as a member of Canada's elite world cup team. In 2013 Jon will compete as a professional in non-drafting racing around the globe. In his time away from training and coaching Jon builds bikes and hones his pizza skills in the kitchen.

Jon thrives on the energy he gets from clients and is determined to help them achieve higher performance levels. 

paul robertson

Paul Robertson

Training Since: 1995
Specialty Areas: Cycling – Road, Cross-Country and Cyclocross

Background: Paul grew up playing a multitude of sports and has been attached to a bike of some sort since the age of four. He has been coaching and training since 1995, working with countless aspiring junior athletes as well as several professional hockey, soccer and football players and teams. Since 2004, Paul has focused on coaching cyclists of all levels, from beginner to elite, in various mountain and road disciplines. Paul takes great pride in his combination of a sound scientific training approach and his ability to intuitively connect with his athletes.

Paul has turned his newly-rekindled love of Cross-country Mountain Bike racing in to a coaching niche at Talisman Centre. His experiences at such marathon stage race events as South Africa's Cape Epic (2009) and BC Bike Race (2010 & 2012), have helped several athletes hone their skills and increase their fitness levels to achieve fun times and great results. Under his guidance, others have had podium finishes at several provincial and national-level events..

Interests: Paul is always expanding his range of coaching abilities and styles. He has taken several courses and certifications through the NCCP and USA Cycling, as well as such experts as Paul Chek and Charles Poliquin. In his free time, he can be found on one of his bikes, his snowboard, a golf course or a coffee shop. He can't wait to sample more of Jon Bird's pizza!

Paul's approach is to help each athlete realize their potential while still striving for life-sport balance.

Ed Rechnitzer

Training Since: 1997
Specialty Areas: Triathlon and Endurance Training

Background: Ed has completed multiple Ironmans including the World Championships in Hawaii. He has successfully coached numerous age group athletes to personal bests and podium finishes. Ed's ability to motivate people stems from over 24 years as an officer in the Canadian Forces. In recent years he has been supporting specialty training courses for the Army as a coach, instructor and technical advisor. Ed holds a BA from the Royal Military College in Kingston and is currently an Advanced Coaching Diploma candidate at the National Coaching Institute – Calgary.

Interests: Ed is an avid (winter) biathlete, downhill skier and a Provincial Champion/National Silver medalist in 4-way formation skydiving. He's fluent in four languages and loves to travel. Ed is passionate about performance planning and developing optimal training for even the busiest of athletes.

There are no shortcuts to success. Success is defined more by the hard work, patience, perseverance and commitment that it takes to achieve it than the actual performance that marks it.

Elmar Heger

Training Since: 2004
Specialty Areas: Triathlon, Swimming, Endurance Training

Background: Elmar started competitive swimming in Germany when he was 4. When his swim coach switched to triathlon Elmar followed, spending 10 years on the German first division state triathlon team. In 2007, he moved on to long-distance triathlons competing in Ironmans and 'Challenge' events all over Europe. During his tenure as a professional long course triathlete in Europe, Elmar coached teams to German University Swim Champs and podium finishes at the Masters World Champs in swimming. He continues to use his sport science degree to coach the Talisman Masters Swim Club and Triathlon Club.

Interests: Elmar continues to study coaching – adding new drills and expertise to his tool box. When he's not coaching he's training to improve his personal best in long course triathlons. When he's not training he's taking long walks with his dog or having coffee in a nice café.

Elmar encourages his athletes to train hard but never forget to have fun and be grateful for being able to do what they love!

Carol Lindholm

Coaching Since: 1998
Specialty Areas: Cycling (road and cross country), swim technique and endurance training

Background: Carol was first introduced to the sport of triathlon by competing in the ‘Turkey Trot’, the first indoor triathlon held at Talisman Centre in 1987. She has now coached all levels of athletes for virtually all types of triathlon events. Her customized training programs are adapted to help each athlete attain their goals with a healthy respect for their lifestyle demands and limitations.

Interests: Carol loves to ski and hike. She continues to expand her sport repertoire by learning how to play hockey. She believes everyone has the capacity to learn a new sport, you just have to park the ego for the first few attempts.

While triathlon consists of three sports, it is the sum total that makes it a unique sport.

Nick Ontkean

Training Since: February 2014
Specialty Areas: Sprint and Olympic Distances

Background: Nick has been an active participant in triathlon since 2008. He graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 2013 with a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology and completed his Advanced Certificate in Athletic Therapy at Mount Royal University in 2014. He has been coaching with Talisman Centre Triathlon Club since February 2014. While attending University he ran track, competing in the 1500m and 3000m distances. Nicks primary focus in triathlon are the sprint and Olympic distances, and he will be moving into the half iron distance in the future. In the Fall of 2014 Nick competed at both the Olympic distance world championships and the 70.3 world championships. Finishing the athletic therapy certificate allows him to observe club members in a different light when coaching; chances are if he is helping you fix something, it will not only make you faster, it will also keep you from getting hurt. If you have any questions regarding injury prevention or are curious about fixing a little issue you might be having, let him know!

Bart Ujack

Training Since:  2000
Specialty Areas: Draft legal triathlon racing, Swimming and endurance development

Background: Bart’s passion for sport developed while he spent fifteen years on a progression towards competing at Canadian National Championships. After his swim carrier Bart transitioned into triathlon and this new multi sport challenge quickly became Bart passion. Competing at many different distances but specializing in draft legal format racing Bart excelled and found he enjoyed sharing his knowledge and passions for the sport. During this time Bart began developing his coaching philosophy with the Cascade Swim Club and in 2008 he decided to take his passion for triathlon to a new level and became the Head coach of the Kronos Triathlon Club. Over the last 6 seasons Bart has become the Alberta Provincial Junior Team Coach, received the ATA coach of the year award twice and has developed some of the most talented junior athletes in the country. He has recently graduated from U of C Kinesiology program and is recognized as one of Triathlon Canada’s performance stream coaches. Bart is excited to continue to develop young talent in Alberta while also supporting age group athletes under the Talisman Centre Triathlon Club.