Football High Schools

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Former St. Pius X-Men football head coach Ted Larose fought the good fight on and off the field

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-at-Home Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

By Martin Cleary

Twenty Ottawa and area swimmers are on the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic radar, 16 have received trials’ invites and seven are eyeing the 2021 Tokyo Games.

The modified Canadian Olympic and Paralympic swimming trials are slated for April 7-11 in Toronto, after a three-day, pre-meet training period. There will be a maximum of 20 swimmers in each event.

Strictly following all COVID-19 safety protocols, including physical distancing, all races will be timed finals as each event will have two 10-swimmer competitions. There will be no spectators.

Swimming Canada recently issued its initial list ranking the top 30 athletes in each Olympic event based on long-course race results from Sept. 1, 2018 to Dec. 6, 2020. Trial invitations were sent to the top 20.

The deadline for first-round acceptances was Friday, Jan. 15, and, depending on what races the swimmers select, more invitations could be extended in the second round, beginning Jan. 20.

Eli Wall. File photo

Montana Champagne and Regan Rathwell, both of the Greater Ottawa Kingfish Swim Club, Eli Wall of Toronto Swim Club, Ottawa’s Alexandre Perreault, Smiths Falls’ Bailey Andison of Perth Stingrays Aquatic Club, and Pembroke’s Alyson Ackman of Pointe-Claire S.C. will press for an Olympic berth.

Two-time Paralympian Camille Berube of Natation Gatineau is the only National Capital Region swimmer in the Paralympic swim trials, which will have 44 world-ranked qualifiers.


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Champagne has achieved the FINA B Olympic qualifying time standard in the 400-metre IM (4:21.40) and 200m butterfly (1:59.21), where he’s ranked No. 2 in Canada for both races and is No. 4 in the 200m IM (2:02.09).

“He has had a really good year so far,” said his former University of Ottawa coach Dave Heinbuch. “He’s on the outside a little bit, but we’re hopeful.”

He’s about 2.5 to 3 seconds off FINA A standard in his 200m races.

Wall, a Toronto Titans International Swimming League team member, is No. 2 in Canada in 200m breaststroke (2:12.80) and No. 3 in 100m breaststroke (1:01.70), which are both FINA B standards.

Perreault, who represented Canada at the 2018 world short-course championships and 2019 Universiade, has the B standard in the 100m butterfly (53.47) and is ranked No. 3 nationally.

Andison, who posted good short-course results inside the International Swimming League bubble, is No. 3 and No. 5 respectively in the 200m IM (2:11.33, A standard) and 400m IM (4:45.20, B).

Ackman, a triple medallist at the 2019 Lima Pan-Am Games, has national top-10 rankings in six freestyle races, including five FINA B standards. She’s one to three seconds off the A standard over 100m, 200m and 400m.

Rathwell, who has committed to the University of Tennessee for 2022 and raced the 200m backstroke A final at the 2019 Canadian world championships trials, is ranked No. 5 in 200m back (2:12.39, B), and No. 9 in 100m back (1:01.16, B).

Berube, who competed at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics, is ranked No. 6 in the world in the SM7 class 200m IM. She also will race in S7 backstroke and S6 breaststroke races at the trials.

University of Ottawa Gee-Gees’ Lauren Shearer (200m breaststroke), William Barrett (200m breaststroke), Louis Bertrand (400m freestyle) and Conor Smythe (200m backstroke) will be looking to crack the top 8 at trials.

The top-20 rankings also include five swimmers from the Nepean-Kanata Barracudas Swim Club: Madison Archer, 800m/1,500m freestyle; Mia Zahab, 200m butterfly/400m IM; Megan Wheeler, 200m backstroke; David Quirie, 200m/800m/1,500m freestyle; and Colton Milne, 200m breaststroke.

Hoping for a top-20 promotion after qualified swimmers make their choices are: Gee-Gees’ Adelle Yamashita-Ball, 800m freestyle, and Jamie Demers, men’s 100m breaststroke; Barracudas’ Breckin Gormley, 100m butterfly; and Swim Ottawa’s Gabriel Tejada, 100m butterfly.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for over 47 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.

Martin can be reached by e-mail at martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.

Ted Larose. Photo: GoFundMe

By Martin Cleary

Sadly, there will be no “birthday” celebration on Dec. 20 for well-respected and former St. Pius X High School teacher/coach Ted Larose. No cake. No Golden Palace egg rolls. But there will be time to remember.

Larose, the head coach of the powerhouse X-Men football dynasty which won 9 Carleton board/city titles over 3 decades, passed away Nov. 28. A Catholic funeral mass was held on Saturday. He fought different types of cancer for almost two decades.

An energetic, caring and battling soul, Larose was born March 18, 1946. So why would he celebrate a “birthday” Dec. 20? On that day in 2017, Hodgkin Lymphoma had a stranglehold on him. He was taken to the Ottawa Hospital by ambulance and died.

But Larose’s fighting spirit combined with the talents of his medical team brought him back to life. Chemotherapy followed to allow him to continue the good fight. For the past two years, his children celebrated their dad’s re-birth day on Dec. 20.

“We were hoping to do it in 2020,” said Larose’s son Ryan. “We got 35 extra months. Of the 35, five were tough. But we got 30 extra months.”

Ryan added his father earned that extra time because of his fortitude and desire to keep living.

“Dad was stubborn in the most positive way. That speaks to the power of the decisions he made. He chose to live and to do things best to live,” he added.

Larose, who had prostate cancer in the 2000 decade, devised his own strict plan.

For Larose to keep moving forward and feel as good as possible, he followed the doctors’ orders – eat well and exercise – plus he did a little more than that in each area. He asked his daughter Krista to develop a Crossfit program for him.

He printed off his program of nine exercises, glued them to a piece of cardboard and religiously did his free weights, bench presses and mountain climbing movements. Walking in his neighbourhood was also part of his live-longer routine.

While taking care of himself during his final three up-and-down years, he didn’t forget the many people in his life. He went to every Little League baseball game and soccer match for his respective grandchildren Grayden and Della.

As he progressed through his eight chemotherapy sessions, he asked Ryan to buy 14 tickets for the St. Pius X 60th anniversary spaghetti dinner. Although long retired, his commitment to his teaching community got him to the dinner with 13 friends.

During those 2018 chemotherapy days, which Ryan described as “really dark and dangerous,” Larose had a heart attack, but didn’t realize it and even questioned the doctors about it. This news made its way back to the St. Pius X teaching staff.

Even though Larose had been retired from the school for 17 years, the current staff raised $1,000 for him. Ryan told his dad about the collection and Larose became angry. But he reflected for a moment and came up with a plan.

He asked Ryan when the school exam period was beginning. He instructed Ryan to use the money to buy lunch for all the teachers and to use the rest to help someone pay a bill.

“That’s dad. Community spirit and servanthood,” Ryan said. “He willingly chose to live as long as he could. We called it overtime.

“He said ‘I want to play every card God gives me. I’ll fight until I have no cards.'”

Playing with fewer cards, Larose was moved to Elisabeth Bruyère Hospital.

Doctors knew Larose’s time was coming, but they continued to try to extend his life. Two days before Larose passed, Ryan was walking Bruyère’s hallways and saw bed after bed filled with patients. But there was one vacancy.

The room that was open was the same room where his mother and Larose’s wife Carol had occupied at the time of her death from cancer in 2014. Ryan spoke to a hospital official and asked if Larose could be moved into that room.

He thought the answer would be no, but within an hour Larose was wheeled into the same room where his wife of 46 years was in 2014.

“It was so fitting,” Ryan said. “A servant got to go in peace.”

Less than two days later, Larose passed. The St. Pius X alumni community responded with wave after wave of notes of remembrance about Larose on social media. They had lost a key player, who respected everyone and was there to help everyone.

But there was that one day, when Larose couldn’t make it to the 1975 Carleton Board of Education senior football final against Sir Robert Borden. But he had a good note from home. He was serving in another way … on jury duty.

The Larose estate has created an annual $500 award called the Teddy Larose Bursary for a student who overcame challenges on the path to graduation. A GoFundMe campaign has added more than $11,000 to the bursary fund.

“He ran marathons. This was a different marathon. He knew he had to train for this marathon,” Ryan said. “It was amazing to watch. It was something he chose to fight. It was hard. If he didn’t choose to fight, it would have been an easier road.”

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for over 47 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.

Martin can be reached by e-mail at martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.


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