By Duncan Mackay

Pierre Lafontaine profileFebruary 1 - Swimming Canada chief executive Pierre Lafontaine is leaving to become head of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), it has been announced.

He will officially take up his new position with the national governing body of university sport in Canada on March 1.

"We are delighted to welcome Pierre Lafontaine and his proven experience and successful track record to CIS," said CIS President Leo MacPherson

"He is very passionate about university sport and what we aspire to do and he is highly motivated to make a difference as our new CEO."

Lafontaine will replace Marg McGregor, who resigned as chief executive last May having been in the role for 12 years.

Lafontaine has combined his role as chief executive of Swimming Canada since 2005 as national coach.

Swimming Canada had yesterday announced that Briton John Atkinson had been appointed as its new director of high performance.

Under Lafontaine, Canadian swimmers made marked improvements, including at London 2012 where they won three medals, two silver and a bronze.

Pierre Lafontaine meeting Canada Governor GeneralPierre Lafontaine meets Canada Governor General David Lloyd Johnston during London 2012

Lafontaine revealed that he was looking forward to his new role. 

"Our student-athletes are tomorrow's leaders," he said.

"We want to create the optimal environment and experience to help them develop to their full potential and achieve their goals and dreams, on and off the playing field."

Prior to joining Swimming Canada, Lafontaine spent four years in Australia with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), including three years as head swimming coach from 2003 to 2005.

At Athens 2004, AIS swimmers captured six Olympic medals, two of them gold.

Lafontaine had previously held numerous coaching positions in Canada and the United States dating back to 1976, including head coach of the Phoenix Swim Club in Arizona from 1997 to 2002.

Swimming Canada President David de Vlieger praised the role Lafontaine had played there.

"The swimming community is very grateful to Pierre Lafontaine for his accomplishments as CEO and national coach since 2005 and we wish him well in his new role," said de Vlieger.

"Lafontaine's passion, energy and determination in guiding Swimming Canada during the past eight years has positioned Canada as a leading swimming nation.

"We have accomplished many great things under Pierre's leadership, and we will continue to make our mark on the international stage."

Swimming Canada hopes to have a replacement in position by September 1, de Vlieger said.

In the interim, Ken Radford will oversee the leadership of Swimming Canada operations and work closely with the Board of Directors and the management team to ensure a smooth transition.

Radford, Swimming Canada's director of swimming operations, has been with the organisation for nearly 15 years.

He was also appointed interim chief executive in 2000.

"While I'm excited to take on new challenges, I'm feeling truly proud of being part of the immense progress of Canadian swimming in the past decade," said Lafontaine.

"Our country has seen an incredible shift forward in the pool.

"Our swimmers are now household names, which is a testament to their commitment to excellence and guidance from their coaches.

"I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to work with incredible colleagues who have shared my passion for the sport, and with the Swimming Canada Board of directors for their continued support and belief in our vision."

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