Randy Bennett

Randy Bennett

Randy Bennett

Randy Bennett

One of the most celebrated coaches in Canadian swimming history, Randy Bennett began his career in his early 20’s as a part-time coach at the northern Alberta pool where he was a lifeguard. From 1981 to 2002 he coached at locations across Canada including Edmonton, Campbell River, Port Alberni, Windsor, and Vancouver. Shortly after arriving in Vancouver, Randy met Lesley through mutual friends. They married on the island of Maui in 1996. In 2002, Randy’s skills, work ethic, tenacity and toughness caught the eye of Island Swimming who were seeking an already successful coach and a forceful and determined leader to take the position of Head Coach.

In 2003, Randy and Lesley brought their two young boys to Victoria, where he was Head Coach/Director of Swimming for Island Swimming for the next 13 years. Within a few years, Randy moved his club to the top of the national rankings. During that time, he successfully lobbied national sport funding partners and Swimming Canada to establish a recognized national training centre in Victoria. Today, the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre in Victoria is recognized as a premier swim program both nationally and internationally. Randy was a long-term visionary of the sport. His model of world-class sport science and medicine support continues to be the model used across all of Swimming Canada’s programs.

In 2008, Randy’s athlete Ryan Cochrane won the bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics, and this success cemented Randy’s position as National Team Head Coach for the next seven years, until his untimely death in 2015 at just 51 years of age. During this time, his program accounted for seven of 11 medals across the 2012 London Olympics, two Commonwealth Games and three World Championships. Under his mentorship, there was a dramatic improvement in how athletes performed and conducted themselves as professionals. Randy put “an unbelievable amount of time, energy and work into making us better athletes as well as better people,” Ryan says, “and he was successful at supporting decades worth of athletes to this goal.”

Among Randy’s many awards are eight Petro Canada Coaching Excellence Awards, six times Swim BC Coach of the Year, Swimming Canada Coach of the Year for five consecutive years 2008 – 2012, and BC Swim Coaches Association National, Open Water and International Coach of the Year, all in 2013. He received the Governor General’s Award in 2012.

Although his increasing success over the years brought many attractive offers elsewhere, Randy and Lesley were determined to keep their family in Victoria. Randy Bennett’s legacy will live on in the pool at Saanich Commonwealth Place, and he will always be remembered for his contributions to his sport, his community and his country.

SPONSORED BY ISLAND SWIMMING

Nancy Mollenhauer

Nancy Mollenhauer

Nancy Mollenhauer

Nancy Mollenhauer

Born and raised in Victoria with four brothers, Nancy couldn’t help but be competitive. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Victoria where she had a successful career with the Vikettes Field Hockey team from 1980-1985. She was named CIAU Athlete of the Year and an All-Canadian in both 1983-84 and 1984-85 and, in her final year, captained the team to its first CIAU title.

Nancy played on the Canadian National Women’s field hockey team from 1982 to 1989, during which time she attended two Olympic Games, two World Cups and a Pan American Games. She was both a leader and a pioneer who put her heart and soul into women’s sport at the highest level. Although a naturally gifted athlete, Nancy’s success can very much be credited to her phenomenal work ethic that had a ripple effect on all of those around her.

“She thrived in a culture of hard work as she was able to do anything she set her mind to,” said teammate, fellow Olympian and coach, Lynne Beecroft.

A versatile player, Nancy made the transition from striker, to sweeper to, finally, competing in the midfield. Her on-field intelligence, in combination with her impressive technical skills, enabled her to continue to grow and play an increasingly larger role within the national team program which she co-captained for many years. Her wit and charisma gained her the respect of her teammates. The depth of her commitment and impact on the national team program was exemplified when she was asked to be the flag bearer at the 1987 Pan American Games.

Nancy was an integral part of what is known as Canadian Women’s Field Hockey’s greatest dynasty - a team which, throughout the 1980’s, qualified for every single world-class event and medalled in many as they brought home silver and bronze medals from the 1983 and 1986 World Cups respectively.

Tenacity and perseverance are what allowed Nancy to reach the ultimate heights of her sport, but she is quick to credit those around her along the way for any success she encountered. With her trademark humour and upbeat attitude, she was - and continues to be - a role model for women in sport. She has left behind a legacy of excellence, playing for both her university and her country.

Upon retirement, Nancy sought employment as a physical education teacher at St. Michaels University School, where she is the driving force behind the field hockey program. She remains a key member of Victoria’s field hockey community as both a coach and organizer at every level of the game. She is still actively playing first division field hockey in Victoria.

In July 2015, Nancy Mollenhauer joined an elite group of Canadian field hockey players and builders, and was inducted into Field Hockey Canada’s Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class. She is married to husband, Ian, and has two field hockey playing daughters, Arden and Anna, who followed in their mother’s footsteps.

SPONSORED BY ST. MICHAELS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL

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saveonABOUT THE GREATER VICTORIA
SPORTS HALL OF FAME

Victoria enjoys a stellar sports history and we celebrate the many athletes, teams and builders who have contributed to that history.  Our displays are seen at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre (1925 Blanshard St.)  through Gate Three.

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