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The Offseason Diaries of Tianna Tanaka: Swimmer, Hockey Player, Coach

10/15/2014, 6:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

Learn more about one of the NSWC's 'older' youth athletes.


The North Shore Winter Club is lucky to have ‘older’ youth athletes contributing around the club. ‘Older’, in this case, refers to an athlete who’s been around the block, probably played a couple different sports at the club and is giving back in some way, either through volunteering their time as coaches or signing up to be an instructor at summer camps. 

Tianna Tanaka is one of those athletes – she’s played hockey at the club and she’s currently a big part of the North Shore Winter Club’s famous Marlins Swim Team. Tianna also helps out on the ice with the Cookie Monsters programs as well as youth hockey development classes.

I was able to catch up with Tianna in between practices to talk about life as a swimmer, a hockey player and personal inspiration. 


KC: Another summer swimming season has come and gone, and you were as busy as ever. Were there any specific highlights that stick out in your mind?

TT: For me personally, the highlight of every summer swimming season is provincials. Not only for obvious reasons of making it to provincials just to compete, but how our team specifically comes together as we get closer to the event. Everyone watches everyone else’s races and we all cheer each other on. One of the advantages of having a small team is the family atmosphere. Provincials have been the highlight of every summer swimming season I’ve been a part of the club swim team, but this summer in particular, the atmosphere was just electric. I’m so proud of the team 

KC: Are there any specific swimmers you look up to for inspiration? What is it about their training or competition habits that you find inspiring?

TT: For sure, my personal inspiration for swimming is Olympians like Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte. Watching their training habits and seeing their determination result in such great victories is what inspires me to keep going every day. It’s a grind sometimes, you know? For us and all the younger kids at the club, you’re doing so much training and trying to balance school, but the look on Phelps’ face when he was winning gold medals shows us that it’s all worth it. 

KC: What does the swimming off-season look like for you?

TT: I spend the offseason in the gym, lots of gym training. I cross train with hockey as well during the offseason, so it’s pretty intense, but it’s worth it. Rules state that you can only train a certain amount of hours in the pool to stay a part of the BCSSA, so we have to be careful of that. That’s why most swimmers will spend a lot of time in the gym, perfecting their movements and training their body to be ready once they do jump back in the pool. 

KC: What do you enjoy more, competing or coaching?

TT: I enjoy coaching more. The North Shore Winter Club Marlins have given me so much over the past 9 years; it feels so good to give back to the team. Although winning provincial medals and setting records is a good feeling, I like coaching better. To see kids pick up on the techniques you show them is awesome, knowing that a couple years back there was someone doing the same for me.

KC: Give us 3 things that make swimming similar to hockey.

TT: Number 1, the team atmosphere, number 2, mental toughness and number 3, the fitness level required to have success. 

photo credit: Luis Hernandez - via photopin cc

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