Coach Mike Freimark prepares his group of RiverMonsters for their next task, at a 2017 practice. Freimark has been recognized as community coach of the year for 2019 by Viasport. (Barry Stewart photo)

Coach Mike Freimark prepares his group of RiverMonsters for their next task, at a 2017 practice. Freimark has been recognized as community coach of the year for 2019 by Viasport. (Barry Stewart photo)

Mike Freimark is Viasport’s community coach of the year

RiverMonsters coach recognized for time with athletes, mentoring junior coaches and growing the club

Mike Freimark has been recognized as Viasport’s community coach of the year.

Freimark, who coaches the Hope RiverMonsters Swim Club, was one of three coaches across B.C. recognized for their efforts. The awards were for the 2019 year, yet due to the coronavirus pandemic the presentation was postponed.

Freimark’s achievements include logging hundreds of hours each year, including 900 hours in his first year with the swim club, during weekly practices and swim meets. The club had been struggling to find enough volunteer coaches to ensure a steady practice schedule, Viasport stated, until Freimark got involved.

The club’s success has a lot to do with Freimark, Viasport stated, including his individual connections with athletes as well as his expanding coaching knowledge. Freimark has been involved in coaching conferences and clinics as well as mentoring junior coaches and developing a five-year plan with the RiverMonsters board to ensure sustainability.

And one thing Freimark said he has learned and passed on to fellow coaches is this: always be prepared.

“Picture an outdoor swim meet on a sunny day. The six and under swimmers are coming on deck to race 25 metre freestyle. Most of the coaches are in the water to swim the length with their young prodigies,” he said in Viasport’s announcement. “My assistant coach Emma is walking an adorable, stubborn little 5-year-old swimmer to the edge of the deck. Looking at Emma I ask, “Do you have your swimsuit on?”

Emma replies: “No, she wants to go by herself”. I ask Emma to give me her phone. Confused, Emma passes her phone to me. The starter says, “take your marks”. Our adorable swimmer freaks out. The buzzer goes and the swimmers are off. Our swimmer won’t move. A fully dressed Assistant Coach Emma does what any good coach would do and jumps in the water swimming side by side with encouragement. I met Emma at the other end of the deck with a towel and reminded her why “coaches need to be prepared”.”

Recognized alongside Freimark were competition coach of the year Richard Stickel, of the Fort St. John Elks Speed Skating Club, and high performance coach of the year Janice Fowler of the Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics Club. The coaches were nominated by their sporting community and were then selected by a panel of experts.

Viasport acknowledged the enormous impact coaches have on their local sporting communities and athletes. “They follow their athletes through their journeys, providing mentorship and critical support, especially in challenging times such as these,” Viasport stated. “They are the heart and soul of our communities and have helped athletes create the very first memories of the sports they love.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:

Facebook and follow us on Twitter

hopeJunior SportsSwimming

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Matthew Balogh was last seen in Abbotsford on Sunday, April 18 at 10 a.m.
Police seek help in locating missing 17-year-old in Abbotsford

Matthew Balogh was last seen at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 18

A COVID-19 vaccination clinic is open every Thursday in Hope at the Legion for the age-based vaccine rollout. But now anyone aged 40 and older can also book an appointment at a pharmacy for the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)
Hope residents 40 and older can now get vaccinated at participating pharmacies

Remedy’s RX pharmacist said the response from the public was immediate following announcement

Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

Rene Cortin/Wikimedia commons
Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society pilot program promotes garden growing

Twenty Chilliwack families are participating in the ‘Garden Box to the Table’ program

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) (File Photo)
IIO investigating after man seriously injured by police dog during Abbotsford arrest

Independent Investigations Office looking into incident from March 6 in 3700 block of Davie Street

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Cash seized in a 2018 RCMP drug bust in the Lower Mainland. (Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP-led drug investigation nets charges for 4 in Lower Mainland

Cops seized 12 kilograms of MDMA and $380K executing several search warrants in the Lower Mainland in 2018

Welcome to your park sign marks the spot where 84th Avenue will continue east from King George Boulevard to 140th Street as part of a $13 million road project. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Road Rage: Opposition mounts anew to Surrey’s Bear Creek traffic plan

Same place, same project, same fight as Surrey prepares once again to connect 84th Avenue between King George and 140th Street in Newton

A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)
B.C.’s wild bees need messy gardens to survive

The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Lawsuit filed last summer accused Barney Williams of verbal abuse

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark. (Black Press Media files)
Former B.C. premier to testify at money laundering hearing today

Attorney General David Eby has been added to the witness list as well

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to table budget that’s expected to deal with COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Robinson released a fiscal update last December that said the impact of the pandemic on B.C.’s economy was uncertain

Most Read