Team Bios

 


LEADERSHIP

 

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 competed 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.

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.

                                                                          


SPORT PERFORMANCE COACHES

Lascelles Brown

Specialty Areas: Bobsleigh – Brakeman; Speed and Power

Background: Lascelles grew up playing all kinds of sports in Jamaica. Because of his natural athletic ability, he was asked to try out for the Jamaican bobsleigh team. Not only did he make the team, he set a start record for the 2-man bobsleigh at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. After marrying a Canadian, Lascelles joined the Canadian Bobsleigh team. He has so far competed for Canada in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games. Lascelles’ accomplishments as a brakeman are vast. Not only has he won 2 Olympic Medals – a Silver in 2 man and a Bronze in 4 man, he is the 2005 World Champion in 2 man and also has Bronze and Silver World Championship Medals. He is a 4 time overall World Cup Champion, a 2 time World Push Champion and was the #1 Brakeman for 3 Olympics in a row. Lascelles has countless World Cup medals, including Monaco’s only World Cup Medal ever, in any sport.

Considered one of the best brakemen in bobsledding history, he continues to train for the next Olympic Winter Games in 2018.

Lascelles has been helping to develop new bobsleigh and skeleton athletes for the past 10 years and continues to offer his expertise whenever he can. He is a natural athlete and with his skills, knowledge and leadership abilities, coaching is a natural progression for him.

Interests: When Lascelles is not training or competing or coaching or public speaking, you can usually find him at home with his wife and 6 kids. He is an amazing photographer and he loves to sing.

Llew Edwards

Coaching Since: 1987

Specialty Areas: Strength and Conditioning, Program Design

Background: As an Olympic-calibre athlete, Llew trained from 1988 to 2002 alongside some of the fastest athletics and bobsleigh athletes in the world. He hung up the cleats and the high speed of bobsleigh bearing the 2010 Winter Olympic torch down the bobsleigh track in Calgary. Llew mastered the art of body awareness and positioning during his year as an athlete and became a cerfified training and conditioning with certifications in stretching and sport science. Llew has coaching both professional and amateur sport athletes, including some in the CFL, NFL, NHL and CIS. He is always up for trying a new sport for the experience of pushing through, reaching new heights and the joy of keeping a healthy mind and body.

Interests: Llew loves music, art, movies, sport and good coversations. When he’s not at the gym, you can often find him in the mountains.

Katarina Fraser

Coaching since: 2011

Specialty Areas: Strength training and conditioning / TRX / Fascia Stretch Therapy

Background: Kat’s background of sport and activity developed though competitive hockey and an array of sports such as basketball, soccer, badminton and snowboarding to name a few. She began her coaching career in high school, coaching girls hockey and continued through university. Since graduating from St. FX in 2011 with a BA in Human Kinetics Kat has gathered experience as an exercise therapist at a physiotherpy clinic and has been personal training since June 2011. Kat puts a strong emphasis on functional weight training so athletes and fitness enthusiasts can develop proper movement patterns and posture to excel their training and prevent any injuries. This past year at Talisman Centre Kat has trained an abundance of clients, small groups and has coached the Aquabelles and Cascade swim groups for drylands training.

Interests: The past four years Kat has taken numerous courses to advance her knowledge for her clients. Between strength training, posutural anatomy, program design, TRX R4 Team Trainer, fascia stretch therapy and rehabilitation Kat can use a combination of expertise to challenge and progress beginners or more advanced athletes. In her free time you can catch Kat pumping iron, long boarding, golfing, mountain biking , snowboarding, just about anything to get active and outdoors!

Kat strives to educate people on functional movement patterns for clients to apply to sport and everyday life while motivating athletes to reach their goals faster than they could ever imagine. But let’s have some fun in the making!

Elmar Heger

Coaching 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 two dogs 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!

Dave Holmes

Coaching Since: 2013

Specialty Areas: Road Racing & Physiotherapy

Background: Dave has been obsessed with cycling for most of his life and raced mountain bikes as a young man. In 2008 his first son had just been born, his career as a physiotherapist was in full swing but he had not ridden a bike seriously for 8 years. He dusted off his old road bike and decided to get back in shape. In 2009 he joined the 3433 Sport Performance cycling program as an athlete and was inspired to start road racing in 2010. By mid 2012 he had reached Cat 1/2 and finished the year off in a criterium race with the national champion. He attributes his success to the 3433 Sport Performance cycling program and is grateful to have the opportunity to be join the coaching in 2013.

Interests: In 2014 Dave founded one of Alberta’s top cycling teams that donates 100% of it’s prize money to support junior racers. When he isn’t training, working or racing he cherishes every moment he has with his beautiful wife and 2 sons, usually by cooking good food with them.

Dave believes the secret to success is to get in touch with the reason why we compete. Having that clarity allows for greater focus and determination which are the true building blocks for achieving our goals.

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

Coaching Since: 2014

Specialty Areas: Sprint, International Distances triathlon and injury prevention

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!

“A properly functioning and adapted body is the basic foundation for continuing success and the ability to progress.”

Ed Rechnitzer

Coaching Since: 1997

Specialty Areas: Triathlon (70.3/Ironman), Training Camps

Background: Ed has over 26years of triathlon and multisport experience and 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 Armed Forces where he served in various challenging positions at home and overseas. In recent years he supported special training courses for the Army as a coach, instructor and technical advisor. Ed holds a BA from the Royal Military College in Kingston.

Interests: Ed is an avid (winter) biathlete, xc and downhill skier and a Provincial Champion/National Silver medalist in 4-way formation skydiving. He is fluent in four languages and loves to travel. Ed is especially passionate about performance planning and coaching/guiding at TC training camps in Mallorca Spain and Tucson AZ.

Ed believes there are no shortcuts to success and that “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.

Paul Robertson

Coaching 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.

 

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 pas¬sion 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.

Isabelle Nat

Specialty Areas: Swim Technique

Background: Isabelle grew up playing many different sports such as soccer, dance, and swimming. She has been a competitive swimmer since the age of 8, and followed this competitive drive to earn a swimming scholarship to the University of Connecticut. Isabelle joined the Talisman Centre almost a year ago, and having had a passion for the sport of swimming, Isabelle quickly gravitated to getting involved with the masters swim group. Isabelle brings her knowledge from her swimming career as a varsity athlete, and her enthusiasm to further her learning such as gaining her level 1 NCCP coaching, to every one of her sessions.

Interests: As an education student pursuing the profession of teaching Isabelle truly believes that every swimmer is a unique and diverse learner. She tries various techniques to try and ensure that her swimmers are getting the most from being coached. In her free time, Isabelle can be found sketching, swimming, or trying out a new baking recipe.

 


NUTRITION

Kelly Drager

Nutrition Coaching Talisman Centre: 10 years

Specialty Areas: Weight Management, Sport Performance

Background: Being from a small Alberta prairie town Kelly spent much of her time playing sports on ball fields and in ice arenas, and later focused on competitive figure skating and dance. She moved to Calgary and completed a Bachelor of Physical Education; Exercise Physiology honors degree from the University of Calgary and it was at this time she was introduced to the mountains. Her passion is outdoor rock climbing but she has recently shifted some of her focus to training for indoor local, national and international bouldering competitions. Her career path also progressed and Kelly went on to complete a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition at the University of Alberta and became a RD. She has since also completed a MSc in Exercise Physiology at the University of Alberta and is a level 1 International Society for the advancement kinanthropometry (ISAK) accredited anthropometrist.

Kelly has been involved with the Endurance Training Programs at Talisman Centre for her decade of time at Talisman Centre guiding numerous triathletes, runners, bikers with their nutrition. She loves the motivation and community aspect of endurance sports. But you likely won’t find her signing up for a triathlon anytime soon...she loves biking and running but skipped the water sport aspect moving straight from the prairies to the mountains. She credits the Talisman Centre for allowing her to grow and experiment in sport nutrition. She looks forward to what the next decade of sport nutrition coaching will bring.

When not scaling walls or mountains Kelly gets her exercise fix through any other outdoor sport (trail running, mountain biking, back country skiing) and her food fix by spending numerous hours in the kitchen trialing new food combinations.

Her motto is: Every day is an opportunity to be better, don’t get ahead of yourself because it’s the moments that are the pieces to your puzzle.

 

 


SPORT TRAINER: PILATES & YOGA

Laurie Hutchinson

Coaching at the Talisman centre since: 2013

Speciality areas: Body alignment and postural strength through pilates, yoga, holistic coaching , strengthtraining and body rolling

Background: Laurie has been promoting her passion since 1995 in a variety of ways. Laurie combines all her specialities to correct alignment issues and postural weaknesses, she is very passionate about her rolling techniques which focuses on fascia release. Laurie’s moto: A strong core a strong body. A strong body a happy life You can see Laurie on both the trails or slopes in Fernie, participating in her favourite activities: skiing: biking: running. As a former sponsored trail runner you can see Laurie either leisurely participating on the trails or at a competitive level..

Professional organizations: A.C.E. , AFLCA , Can-fit, balance body - physical mind, yumana

Lori Baker

Background: Lori has been passionate about sport from a young age. Her interest in endurance sport started out with running a half marathon then moved onto recreational triathlons and cycling. As a fitness instructor and personal trainer, Lori has focused her passion further as a Pilates teacher and becoming more involved with helping people connect with their bodies. She believes the mind-body connection is a fundamental aspect of any sport. Lori has worked with a variety of clients and settings ranging from junior triathletes to people living with chronic conditions to the recreational athlete. Lori is currently working as Sport Development Coordinator at Talisman. This includes promoting 3433, the nutrition program and developing a place for high performance athletes to train.

Interests: When she’s not running, Lori also enjoys family time which includes hiking, skiing, biking or swimming whether it’s in the mountains or by the ocean. Her kids are active in a variety of sports and Lori loves to watch them compete. She wants them to have fun and learn that being active is important. This past year she had the opportunity to go CAT skiing and found that it is super fun to fly down a mountain through powder making fresh tracks! Although a little scary too!



 

SPORT TRAINING CONSULTANT

 

Les Gramantik

Coaching Since: 1972

Background: Bachelor of Arts in Education, Bachelor of Science in Physical Education, Masters in Coaching Science, University of Bucharest, Romania

Les bring a great deal of depth to the team as our 3433 Sport Performance Training Consultant. His concentrated background as the coach of the Canadian athletics national team in various roles since 1984, including six Commonwealth Games, three Pan American Games, eight Olympics/Paralympics and eleven World Athletics Championships. Les’s passion for sport extends to his coaching and consulting with over 50 Canadian national champions and medalists in a variety of speed and power events. More recently he has been an athletic and planning consultant for a number of sports such as Hockey, Football, Kayak-Canoe, Bobsleigh and Professional Golf. His role with our team mirrors his continued Involvement a mentorship capacity in all levels of coaching education from NCCP to NCI and lecturer at the University of Calgary . He has become a leader of developing coaching education programs, writing the Competition Development curriculum for athletics and he is an expert in yearly planning and periodization.