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Catalog Number 2013.55.8
Object Name Video
Title Alex Baumann
Scope & Content Alex Baumann:

1 of 2: 00:40Started swimming in 1974 in Sudbury, had access to new facility and coach, starting winning competitions but realized had to work hard to continue success
3:41Defining moment came in 1975, won competitions and set Canadian records for his age group; talks about his relationship with his coach Yeno, same philosophy - to work hard to achieve something, at that point he needed structure and discipline; talks about training hard at a young age and the social aspect of swimming; his coach was a meticulous planner and every set, every line has a specific purpose and would talk to his swimmers about what they were going to achieve in each workout, setting small realistic goals and long term goals as well; "a perfect practise makes perfect"; (7:22) "the coach is the most critical piece in the success in sport, in high performance", follows the philosophy that it is athlete centered, coach driving and service supported
8:183 things you need - coach, facility and the right programme, plus the right training environment, right social aspects (8:50) "When I first started I didn't know I could reach the international level, the Olympic level and I think that a lot of people make mistakes that they see themselves at the Olympics without taking it one step at a time"; set goals, achieve goals, and move on; you need to have other outlets to ensure you are not thinking about the sport 24 hours a day
10:28Talks about his injury: "Adversity is part of sport, it's part of life and if you can overcome that adversity the certainly it makes you a much stronger person. And these are skills that are important in life as well.|
11:30Age 17 world level; talks about the age groupings and moving into the next age group put you at the bottom of the group and how this is where you lose young athletes; broke first world record at age 17, he didn't think it would happen until it happened; (13:30) "You have to concentrate on the process rather than the outcome. So you have to concentrate on what you have to in the pool, rather than the Gold medal. You have to maintain your strategy and what you have practised for so many years."
Talks about his shoulder injury and learning to deal with the pain and being out of competition, the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane were important because he set a world record in the 200IM and was ready for the Olympics; talks about the importance of the Commonwealth Games and the World University Games as stepping stone to a multisport environment that teaches you how to deal with pressure; the adversity made him an all-round athlete that had to deal with highs and lows
21:00World University Games were a confidence builder, 1984 had both world records; going into the Olympics he tried to block out the press or you can start believing it is actually easier than it really is; positive being named as a flag bearer, once in a lifetime opportunity, did increase the pressure as Canada expected 2 Gold; talks about the 200 IM race and came to the realization that you can control external pressure, you can only control the situation around you; (24:24) "one of the things I learned over the years is that consistency is the true mark of a champion";
26:03Keep to the strategy that we always practised, knew everyone in the race and how they swam, need to know your competition but you can't worry about your competition, need to focus on what you want to achieve
27:16You always try different strategies at lesser events, practising what you want to do and follow it at the Olympics
28:54Talks about his father's death and its impact; his coach filled the void, mother supportive
30:07Second event (400 IM) was easier, already had one Gold, pressure off; talks about Victor Davis and the 200m breaststroke; they had a determined, fantastic team with Victor and Mike West; primary goal was to get the Gold, secondary goal was to set a world record to prove that at that time no one was better
32:30Role models Graham Smith & Bill Sawchuck, try to emulate what they did on the deck and in the pool; possible to get kids to see they are normal people, not "gods"
33:53Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1986, not as intense for these events with the world championships happening in a few weeks, talks about his rivalry with Australian Rob Woodhouse, the CG were a good stopping stone, less pressure, they have a more friendly attitude, helped prepare him for the worlds, he was sick for the Worlds and did not compete at his best (bronze and silver) but took the positive out of that; made the decision to retire in 1987 - accomplished everything he wanted to in the sport
36:20Are there specific races or specific moments that really stand out - Talks about the 1982 Commonwealth Games, won the 200 IM, knew he was back and able to compete with the best in the world, despite the injury; the last 5 meters of the 400 IM in 1984 and the feeling of relief in winning the Gold and the tremendous impact in hearing the national anthem; also the first world record in Germany as he finally knew he could do it
2 of 2; 00:15Where did the drive come from: "the drive certainly came from swimming. It came from what my coach imparted as well, all the disciplined approach, the approach that if you work hard you'll have success as well. I'm very goal oriented and even if there are obstacles I feel that you overcome your obstacles and achieve your goals and move on to the next goal...I believe you have to be honest, prioritize, make hard decisions
02:04About liking process - Needs to be a system in place, one step at a time, logical process to anything
2:37Talks about moving to Australia to pursue his education and realizing he wanted to continue in high performance sport; talks about his work experiences in Australia, talks about his vision
8:56Talks about being approached by Chris Rudge of the COC for the position with the Road to Excellence programme: encouraged by the results in Turin and the renewed emphasis on excellence in Canada, that the athletes were not afraid to win and wanted to try to be the best in the world, talks about the post Ben Johnson era where winning was a dirty word and participation was good enough; (10:12) "I've always believed that really we should try to be the best in the world"; liked the idea of the goal for Vancouver 2010 to be the number 1 country "I believe very strongly that you have to aim high"
12:50Post Beijing goals: did well in Beijing but still a long way to go, goal for 2012 to be in the top 10; talks about Canada not having the resources yet, off to a good start, potential here but need to move to an institute model in major cities, refers to Calgary being almost there, and the sport system being aligned in all the provinces
15:20Would you call this part of your journey a success? Doing it step by step, talks about need for more federal funding; what are the requirements if we want to compete against the rest of the world - ensure we have the best coaches, more support at the junior levels and an integrated approach to sport to provide leadership and management
18:12On his experiences as a coach: "I was pretty hard as well. My expectations were high of the kids. I tried to bring in some balance, there has to be some balance in terms of making sure it's fun. I think in this day and age you can't be an authoritarian. You have to empower the athletes to want to do it themselves. Otherwise, there's no point. There's no doubt that's a challenge today. It's kind of a fast-food society, kids want results immediately. And that doesn't happen in sport unless you are very, very talented. And you have to take them through that and teach them these things."
19:44How much of it came from your drive to work? Critical piece, you have to get in the pool and do the hard work, can't just make it on talent; hard work has to be done, the coach must be good technically, focus on what you have to do and not being distracted by what is going on
22:05Gold medals being a career/business opportunity: athletes now stay in longer, can make some money, sees this as a positive but need to continue to direct athlete support and the programme side being needed
24:52What do you want your athletic/swimming side to be remembered by? "to be determined to succeed, to be the best that you can be given any circumstances. I think that's important. You're not always going to win. There are some athletes who never will reach the national or international level. And that's ok. What we need to do in this country is ensure that we have integrated athlete pathway, integrated coach pathways, so those opportunities exist for kids, whether they reach the top or not, because very few will reach the top."; focus on excellence
26:71On being inducted in the CSHoF: "It's a great opportunity to be in the HOF with some very notable people. I do think it is a critical factor to take a look at our history and make sure that its not forgotten...We can't forget our past."



Year Range from 1974
Year Range to 1987
Subjects aquatics - swimming
1984 Olympic Games Los Angles
1982 Commonwealth Games Brisbane
World University Games
sports administrator

Search Terms visionary
work ethic
passion
driven
hard work
honesty
intelligence
strategic
teamwork/team player
dedication
consistency