FKRM Instructor named Water Polo Canada Regional Coach
Kelsey Johansen has been making a splash on the water polo scene for decades. She’s now reaching new depths—which could lead all the way to the Olympics.
Johansen, an instructor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, has been awarded a short-term contract with Water Polo Canada as part of the NextGen Athlete Identification Project for the 2024 national team.
A NextGen athlete is one who is between five and eight years away from winning a medal at the Olympic Games. Presently, the target is for athletes who are projected to make the 2024 Olympic team.
The project is a one-time initiative and part of Water Polo Canada’s high-performance development strategy, as the best young talent is identified for future age-group national teams.
Johansen, who also serves as the Manitoba Water Polo Association High Performance Director, and Head Coach of Neptunes Water Polo Club says she’s honored to have been asked to be part of the project.
“I’m really excited for all of this,” said Johansen. “I feel like my life in water polo is coming full circle.”
First introduced to water polo at the age of 12, Johansen has played competitively at the provincial, national and international level for 25 years, including on the Age Group Development Team from 1995-1997, and most recently on the Manitoba Women’s Major League Water Polo team and the University of Otago’s Club League. Since moving to Manitoba, she has been instrumental in building the province’s capacity for High Performance water polo programming, including acting as Head Coach for the Neptunes Water Polo Club’s first ever 16U Boys National Championship League Team and offering two High Performance Training Camps with members of the National Team and National Team Coaching Staff. A coach for the better part of two decades, Johansen will complete her Advanced Competitive Coach (Comp-Dev, NCCP Level III) Certification this May.
Johansen joins other regional coaches from across the country in this initiative, which will support the Western Regional High Performance Camp in Surrey, BC in April. Johansen will also help deliver a Gold Medal Profile workshop for Manitoba water polo coaches, physical testing of all of the WPC identified NextGen athletes in Manitoba, and the delivery and monitoring of training plans and monthly training camps for all of the identified athletes until National Team training begins in July.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to guide and forge future Olympians for years to come,” adds Johansen.
The NextGen project was started because Water Polo Canada identified a lack of critical information on the next wave of potential national team athletes. The project is supported and approved jointly by Own the Podium, Sport Canada, and the Canadian Olympic Foundation.
If you are a club coach in Manitoba and are interested in the Gold Medal Profile (GMP) Workshop, or an athlete/parent interested in the sport, Johansen can be contacted at KJohansen [at] Neptuneswaterpolo [dot] com.