Dirty pool?

Dave Kearsey
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Roxon denies claim he has ‘unethical’ coaching approach

Patrick Power is shown on Wednesday.

STEPHENVILLE  Stephenville native Robert Dower believes Aqua Aces Swim Club coach Leonard Roxon’s approach goes against every ethical coaching guideline in Canada.

However, Roxon, who took over the coaching duties with the Aqua Aces in September, insists he is just passing on information to his athletes like any good coach would do in an effort to help them improve their performance in the pool.

Dower, a 25-year-old who recently returned to Stephenville after retiring from the Canadian Navy, has a younger brother — 12-year-old Patrick Power — swimming with the Aqua Aces.

Dower has concerns about a series of recent emails coach Roxon sent to members of the club and felt it was necessary to let people know what’s been happening under the tutelage of the coach, father of Paralympic swimming star Katarina Roxon.

Dower says he disagrees with coach Roxon distributing to children — ages five to 16 registered with the club — an email Dower views as encouraging the use of performance boosting substances such as Gu Energy Gel.

He also says he didn’t appreciate an email sent out that detailed coach Roxon’s concern about ferritin (iron) levels in his swimmers because the coach felt many swimmers were struggling to keep up with the program.

Dower thought it wasn’t appropriate for the coach to ask young swimmers to get blood work done.

“Bloodwork for five-year-olds is totally inappropriate,” Dower said. “They’re in there to have a little bit of fun and, if by some miracle they become Olympic swimmers like his daughter (Katarina) did, that would be great. But if they don’t, then this is a little fun after school for them to do.”

As for Roxon, he said he’s doing what a coach is supposed to do and that’s to apply what he learns from people who have paved the way.

“I’m not promoting anything. I’ve given them nutrition and hydration guidelines according to Coaches of Canada,” he said. “They’re not my own guidelines and I’m not promoting any specific drink or methodology. I’ve given them an entire list of the things they can do, which is what any coach should do and which is what the national team does with us.

“All the philosophies I use with the team are philosophies that I have learned from the national team and anything I suggest I’ve got sufficient scientific documentation to back up what I suggest.”

“It’s all within the Coaches of Canada guidelines and what he (Dower) is doing is picking and choosing selective words and selective sentences putting it out of context, and he’s manipulating everything that I have said and he’s not taking the full email in context,” Roxon added.

“Anybody can take one word and put it together with another word and make it look bad, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.”

Roxon said emails were sent to swimmers, with his only intent being to inform and educate, and by no means did he suggest that youngsters as young as six years old be eager to try Gu or any of the other suggested gels he mentioned.

“I just sent out an email to all parents so nobody feels left out, that’s it,” he said. “I’m not saying a six-year-old should take Gu. Gu is what the national team physiologist suggested that competitive athletes take.”

“There’s no banned substances in it, and it’s not a performance-enhancer like Robert portrays it to be,” he added.

As for the email asking parents for blood work, Roxon recognized lot of the swimmers were struggling with the program so he wanted to eliminate various reasons for this including low ferritin (iron) levels.

“If iron levels are low, there is a chance kids may get sick,” he said.

“I have an email from the national team physiologist who has suggested that these are the tests that need to be done,” he added, noting his email included a number of disclaimers including one to discuss this issue with a physician and that it’s not compulsory for a swimmer to be a member of the club.

Roxon, who was teaching Robert to swim in the evenings for free until his schedule wouldn’t allow it, finds it odd that it’s only now that the family is voicing concerns about his coaching methods. He suspects it all went awry in January after he had a discipline issue with Patrick.

“If they thought that because of how friendly they are with me that their child would get extra concessions I’m sorry because I have to treat every child fairly,” he added.

According to Roxon, his swimmer was back at practice the next day, but has since been handed a temporary suspension by the club’s executive.

Roxon says he isn’t taking the matter lightly and he feels he has done nothing wrong to jeopardize the safety or training of his swimmers.

“He’s taking everything that I’ve said and twisted it around and that’s up to him,” Roxon said. “I have already sought legal counsel.”

When the young swimmer does return to the Aces, he will be looking at working with a new coach because Roxon said he has the right to choose who he coaches.

Organizations: Aqua Aces Swim Club, Canadian Navy

Geographic location: STEPHENVILLE, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Alex T
    February 20, 2013 - 23:22

    Welcome to Stephenville... where no good deed goes unpunished in the minor sport system and volunteers get crucified for their efforts. If all the people that like to sit back and backbite the local coaches (all sports included) and questoion every little thing they do until they just say the hell with it and quit would step up and give a little bit of their time to things would be a lot better. Instead these people run to the media with everything and blow things out of proportion before trying to solve the problem internally.

  • cindy
    February 20, 2013 - 10:44

    Yes Andrea I as they must press the transfer button for them to compete with there new team and refuse. So unless you know the facts probably shouldnt comment.

  • anonymous
    February 15, 2013 - 20:46

    i am the co-captain of the swim team and i think this is really the most stupid thing i ever heard of in my life...!! Mr Roxon is the best coach i ever had in my life(i had a really bad one but not going to mention any names) Mr Roxon actually pushes us and cares about our well being..the blood tests are optional and he just wants to make sure we as athletes have the nuntirents we need to carry out long swim practices and high endurance training. this situation in my point of view is really childish just because one person gets kicked off the team everyone fights to make Mr Roxon look like a bad guy..and twisting words and mixing things up to make a guy look mean and crewel isn't the right thing to do.. i no it isn't anywhere for me to put my opinions but i have seen this go on long enough. also GU is safe for child consumption it clearly states this on the web site if you care to take a look!!!!!!!!

  • Cindy
    February 13, 2013 - 12:37

    Welcome to the fight Tom, remember to follow proper complaint policies even though we both no it wont be solved locally or provincially. As you know I am now at the Swim Canada level and still not solved, only difference is that my issues are with the executive NOT the coach. Sad reality is you live in the only province that it is social acceptable for adults to bully children, and the people involved have their own agendas in mind and fail to be able to tell the truth. Rob maybe you should take your complaints to the Regional Aquatic Center board because I can tell you it was a pool requirement that the coach have a minimum of Bronze Cross to be on deck and I am sure they remember past incidents well all though managements seems to have forgotten. All I can say is Patrick must have become amazing because he obviously threatens someone to be kicked off the team, sure hope for his sake someone wakes up and see what has been going on in Stephenville for years. Pretty sad when people 4 provinces away can still control if children swim with their petty lies, way to go Aces that’s 4 children in one year must be a good feeling knowing your big enough to pick on small children!

    • Andrea
      February 13, 2013 - 20:34

      Cindy, you mention four children in your comment. Patrick is one. Is the other three your children who went away with you? Can you blame people over here for what's happening in your life over there? I don't think so. It's time to move on. Your children are great swimmers and I hope they continue and are successful in their goals. I agree that Patrick should not be punished just because his family disagrees with the coach but I think Mr. Roxan went on the offensive when Patrick;s brother contacted " The Western Star". This is something that should have been discussed between the coach and those involved. Most parties in this story are well known by people in this community and they will judged by what people know of them. The children are innocent bystanders and they are all wonderful. People wonder why it is so hard to get volunteers but it is not hard to understand when you see situations like this.

  • Ron Murphy
    February 11, 2013 - 14:32

    As a professional coach and for most my working years, I find it a shame that a young boy has to suffer and the psychological problems that could permentaley scare him due to the cause of the behavior of a so called "coach". With all due respect, I coached individuals fron 5-85 years of age and never had an issue like this. We talk about child obesity and lack of exercise our children are getting and one man has the right/power to do such a thing......Who is in charge of this man and what is being done with him. I feel it's appauling for such an act to happen to a child, it makes me wonder who is the kid here. Please look after our future, our precious children.....

  • Alison
    February 10, 2013 - 16:39

    This is news??? Really??? I think everyone has to grow up and get a pair. Just because he sent an email that doesn't mean you have to give your child anything. I don't get your issue. Since when were you all about the kids. If you go to the pool every day and then see these problems or he was giving your kids stuff ok complain but having your view set on a email. Wow! Furthermore, I can take care of my own children I dont need you or anyone else to "worry" about them so dont say you are doing this for all the kids. There is more things for people to worry about in town (ex drugs) then a so called "dirty pool". Grow up people. This should not even had a piece in the paper to start.

  • Jennifer
    February 09, 2013 - 12:40

    I am a swimmer who used to swim on the Aqua Aces. I think that the whole situation is insane. There are way more problems then just this. They have been going on for a while now, mostly out of pure jealously. My mother used to be the coach before Mr.Roxon took over so I was at the pool everyday for two hours and i got to see and hear all the problems. I remember how people used to say how me and my sisters were getting special treatment because the coach was our mom and sometimes they made it obvious to us they felt that way, when anyone who was on the deck could tell that we were not. My sisters and I were few of the fastest kids on team, as we had all our qualifying times for east coast and more. I remember a parent coming to our house to ask my mom not to swim us in certain swims so there child could medal, when we got to pick our own swims. We got picked at along with a few other kids, including Patrick, and because of this we had to miss out on great opportunities and swim meets. As for the energy drinks and gels and the bloodwork Mr.Roxon was "suggesting" for the swimmers, if my mom would have "suggested" that, the parents would have looked at her like she was crazy and told her where to go and how to get there. I find it funny how now they are agreeing with it because they are desperate for a coach and the people who are not agreeing with it are being punished. Like Patrick. I swam on the with him and not once did he EVER misbehave. He always listened and whenever I gave him advice he always said ok thanks, then later he would try it. I have moved out of province, and this year I didn't even want to join swimming. People there turned a sport I loved and turned it into something I hate. Its sad when I dont even want to swim anymore because of other parents, and "suggestions". I can see this happening to more people on the team because their going to realize that what people are telling them or "suggesting" isnt helping and its just making them feel worse. I know Patrick and everyone else on the team and I can guarantee it that it is not his behavior that he is not allowed to swim, its because of parents jealously and constant complaining about him. I would hate to see Patrick not being able to do something he loves because of other people and because of hatred towards him.

  • Julianna Deveau
    February 08, 2013 - 13:45

    Mr. Roxon is an amazing person who is just trying to get his swimmers to the best they can be. I am part of the Aqua Aces and he has helped me achieve plenty of my goals and had never "told" me to do anything. He gives us all the choice to follow his advice, it's our choices if we follow them or not.

  • Cindy
    February 08, 2013 - 12:49

    Bottom line is there is ONE POOL, ONE SWIM TEAM, ONE AA COACH, ONE AA EXECUTIVE in Stephenville. The "adults" involved couldn't come to a peaceful resolution? At the end of the day it is this little boy Patrick who has to pay for this dispute. Many comments came in defending Mr. Roxen; I wonder how come no one thought to stand up for thier team mate?

  • Concerned for the child
    February 08, 2013 - 10:49

    I think this matter is being blown WAY out of proportion. The saddest part about all of it is that Patrick doesn't get to take part in an activity he really enjoyed because of things that are beyond his control. He can't help who his family is and it should not be taken out on the child. I am sure if Mr. Roxon was such a problem, it would have been realized long ago because he has coached here for years. If only one person saw a problem with the e-mail out of ALL the parents it was sent to, that should tell you something, no?

  • Jan
    February 08, 2013 - 09:33

    I find it sad that uneducated people are questioning a coach who is getting the information to him from Swim Canada and Swim Canada's team phisiologist. Why would the "brother" have an issue. People that are uneducated in a field always question what they dont understand. Just another reason swimming in Canada is a joke and continues to struggle in the world arena. Why not go to the coach and ask the questions so you dont look like a moron? Leonard, keep up the information. The choice is up to the parents whether they use it. This family appears to be trying to pass it off their childs misbehavior and questioning your disipline tactics. It amazes me when parents make excuses for their kids instead of giving them the tools they will need later in life to deal with situations. On another note...I didn't know 5 year olds had email accounts...wow my poor 5 year old is missing out I guess.

  • Karen
    February 08, 2013 - 08:10

    My son is on the swim team also and we have no concerns about how he's being trained. If your child's teacher had a suggestion for you to try that would help your child learn, you would as a parent try it. So what is the problem with a coach making a suggestion? It's a suggestion! I agree with Kim, come sit on poolside and watch the kids,their happy, they work hard and they respect their coach.

  • marie white
    February 07, 2013 - 20:44

    I think this is horrible. he needs to remember their CHILDREN, not adults in training. If this is his plan of coaching, he should step aside. The parents should stick together, if your not happy with how things are going, you need to remove your child until a new person steps in. There is no point to complain & chat about him behind his back, as you all have been doing. DO something. This is SUPPOSE to be the best interest for YOUR children, try to make sure they come first !!!

    • Jackie
      February 08, 2013 - 06:38

      "Marie you need to talk to these kids on the swim team about their dreams and goals like I have. Then you will realize how important it is to them as athletes to reach their goals. If they are blessed to have someone of Roxon's calibre and experience to help them get there, why are you all so worked up. Don't you think their parents are not smart enough to know and decide what is good for their own children that they need advice from the general public?"

  • Concerned
    February 07, 2013 - 20:43

    I have read the artical, as well as all the comments...And I have to say WOW, poor kids involved...My kids swim for pleasure not competitive but that is their choise...My kids never get involved with adult conversations weather it involves them or not, that is my choice...I really feel bad for the children because they are the ones loosing out, not only because of all of the disagreements but because it must be really hard to get into the pool and perform after being in the middle of all of these discussions...As hard as life might get I always keep into mind of the age of the kids around me and try to remember how impressionable they are...Please guys try to find another way to do this without involving the children, let them be young and carefree for as long as they can be...Ask yourself if it is getting to this is it really worth it? Best of luck to all involved...

  • Jackie
    February 07, 2013 - 20:07

    As a new swimmer to the Regional Aquatic Center, I am appalled at these negative comments. It is obvious that people have not read the news article properly. Leonard Roxon has given so much of his time and dedication to this sport even after his daughters have gone on to pursue their higher education. Many parents knew that he was the one to coach their children, who have great dreams and are athletes aspiring to make it to the National and International level. For some it may be just for fun. I know some of these athletes myself, who with the guidance of someone like Mr. Roxon will give them that extra push to make their dreams a reality. Further to helping the kids on the swim team, he has dedicated an hour of his time 4 nights a week to help even a new swimmer like so many others and me. I have nothing but positive things to say about Leonard Roxon. I know he has helped many children build their confidence, as he has with adults, including myself.

    • Wildcat
      February 07, 2013 - 20:33

      Jackie, I agree with you 100% this man recognizes traits in all his swimmers so he can aspire them to be the best that they can be. If this child's parents had such concerns would you not have removed your child from the Aqua Aces until you could find other arrangements. It all seems a little over the top and dramatic.

    • Rob Dower
      February 07, 2013 - 20:54

      Wildcat, I truly wish there could be other arrangements but Stephenville has only one swim team. And inspiring kids is what is needed! Encouraging P.E.S and distributing such products in against Coaching Ethics set forth. Patrick not being able to swim is just a minor problem in this situation. The health and safety of these children is paramount. Just because other parents fail to see the implications from drinking 2 and 3 sports drinks a swim (emails proving such numbers were recommended), and using Goo Energy and Goo Roctane doesn't mean I will stand by and remain silent. If over the top and dramatic gets done what's needed to be done, then I'll be as over the top and dramatic as I wish! : ) Happy debating!

    • Kim
      February 07, 2013 - 21:14

      My daughter has been a member of the swim team for the last year and under Coach Roxon's direction she has improved beyond my expectations. He has always been professional and fair. I can't understand why he's being attacked for providing our children with the highest level of coaching. Those of you who agree with the negative comments being made about Coach Roxon should sit poolside and watch sometime. It is a real eye-opener to see how our children respond. I sit poolside quite often and I have seen Coach Roxon discipline some of the children because of unruly behavior. I can assure you that he has always been fair. Coach Roxon provides the parents with information but does not insist that we do as he says. He understands that we as parents can think for ourselves. My daughter respects Coach Roxon. Just recently she had to submit an essay about who she considered to be a hero and why. She said her hero was Coach Roxon because he encourages her to become a better swimmer. It is my opinion that our children have progressed because of Coach Roxon's direction and guidance. This "witch hunt" to try and ruin a good persons reputation is appalling.

    • jan
      February 08, 2013 - 10:17

      What is P.E.S? Does that stand for Performance enhancing substances? Are they illegal? There are many forms of nutrition that are out there that can help improve performance and improve general health. Athletes and people in general buy supplements and vitamins all the time. I am assuming that the information was given to the parents to read. Would a parent of a younger child have been upset if they were left out of the loop of receiving this information. Did you ever stop to think that maybe the coach sent the information to all parents as the ensure that no one was left out of the loop. ALSO..It was just information!! As parents, you get to decide what is best for your children.

  • WildCat
    February 07, 2013 - 19:54

    Jack if these were just concerns why the bashing in the public eye. Everyone deserves the opportunity to defend themselves properly. The whole thing appears to be a personal attack versus proper coaching techniques.

  • Amber
    February 07, 2013 - 19:44

    I want to thank Coach Roxon for helping me to become a confident and stronger swimmer despite my disability. He treats me as though I am one of his children and listens to me. He gives me motivation to keep going even when I want to stop!

  • Rob Dower
    February 07, 2013 - 19:33

    Hey Jeff, I did not intend for the Navy to be brought into this. I mentioned that I recently moved back to town when talking to the journalist and he asked why I moved back, and I stated that I had completed my term in the Navy (4 years) and that I moved back to start a business and raise my family. It was never my intention to do a full 25 in the Navy, it was only my intention to serve my initial 4 as a way of giving something back to my country. It is unfortunate that some comments have started to bring up the Navy. I would hope that everyone can leave the Canadian Forces out of this and remain on topic with the subject at hand. Thank you for your continued service, Jeff!

  • Dwayne
    February 07, 2013 - 19:24

    Leonard Roxon is very professional and a fabulous coach. He promotes only good health and nutrition with our two children. It is my choice what I give my children to eat and drink, and NEVER has Coach Roxon “told” me what to give my children. My children are very happy with Coach Roxon; they love to swim and their personal best times indicate they are steadily improving. Who knows, maybe they’ll be Olympians someday. I always tell them, “Dream big.”

  • Jeff
    February 07, 2013 - 18:34

    Although I've known Mr. Roxon for a number of years and think he is a great man, I won't comment directly about the main discussion of the article. As someone who currently serves in the Canadian Military, I find it extremely disrespectful and offensive that this has been given a topic link, 'Canadian Navy'. There is nothing in this article that reflects the Canadian Navy or the military in general. It also states that Robert Dower retired from the military. At 25, you do not retire from the military. He release from the military in one of 5 ways: Misconduct, Unsatisfactory service, medical, voluntary or service complete. You retire when you complete 20, or now 25 years of service. While I thank Mr. Dower for his service, I think to use the military as a way to garner support from the general public in this article is inappropriate and unprofessional.

  • Susan
    February 07, 2013 - 15:53

    The news in this story is in the sheer refusal of any wrongdoing on the part of Leonard Roxon (Why did he lawyer up if he did nothing wrong?). Have a read of the article written 5 years ago, and how he nearly destroyed the swim team. The injustice committed against this young boy is only a small percentage of the underlying issue. An issue that Mr. Dower is trying to bring to light by standing up to Leonard Roxon. It takes a person like Mr. Dower to put himself on the line and say, "No more"!, and be willing to take the backlash for it. He owes nothing else to this country now after already fighting for it, yet he continues. How about we come together now and help him in this fight!

  • Andrea
    February 07, 2013 - 14:00

    Where is the news in this story? In reading this article and the comments made by the child's father the only thing I see is a family trying to make something out of nothing. Nutrition and Hydration guidelines have been around for athletes since the beginning of sports. Personally I don't think there is anything wrong with a coach suggesting getting the iron tested of a child who is acting out of the norm. The parent has every right to refuse but the child was a part of a competitive team and coaches are allowed to make suggestions. I would like to have seen the e-mail that the coach sent to parents as I do believe anything can be taken out of context to make it controversial.

    • Rob Dower
      February 07, 2013 - 15:43

      Andrea, feel free to post your email and I will forward you all the emails that you wish. Nothing was taken out of context. The emails are plenty controversial on their own, and break many Ethical Guidelines set out by Swimming Canada for Coaches. This isn't a situation where I deem something unfit, this has been in writing for quite some time deeming this form of behaviour unfit..... I am simply bringing it to light in a very public manner.

  • Danielle
    February 07, 2013 - 12:57

    This "discipline issue" which Mr. Roxon claims to have had with Patrick never existed. I have witnessed Patricks behavior in the pool on many occasions. Patrick was very serious about his swimming, and always listened to everything his coaches told him. The previous coach, whom Mr. Roxon replaced, never had an issue with Patrick. Patrick was expelled from the team, simply because his family was causing too much trouble for Mr. Roxon. As for the energy Gel which have "no banned substances, and is not a performance enhancer", why is Mr.Roxon providing this Gel to children on his team? Just because their are no substances in them which are "banned" does not mean they are safe for children to consume on a regular basis! These are not adults. I think Mr. Roxons biggest problem is that he tends to forget he is coaching children.

    • Jack
      February 07, 2013 - 19:52

      Since Mr. Roxon is punishing an athlete for no reason, and only because his parents raise concerns, not only does it constitution wrongful dismissal (not in employment terms), but also sends a message that a coach can control whom are your parents. Keep in mind that a child can't choose their parents, and a coach should have no right to punish the athlete due to the actions of their parents. Children should be punished for their actions, not their parents as a child cannot choose parents, and that's the root of Mr. Roxon's problem. If Mr. Roxon suspended a child or adult athlete in Special Olympics due to a parent's complain, Special Olympics Canada will likely ban Mr. Roxon from coaching for violating their inclusion policy.

  • Jack
    February 07, 2013 - 12:53

    As everyone is aware, Special Olympics Corner Brook are having similar problems in addition to Aqua Aces Swim Club. In the case of Special Olympics Corner Brook, this regional chapter are currently experiencing numerous problems including infighting among coaching and volunteer staff, frequent threats and backstabbing against coaches, coaches using Special Olympics for their personal gain as opposed for the betterment of intellectually disabled individuals, just to name a few. Due to this frequent infighting, backstabbing, and power struggling among coaches and board members, Special Olympics Corner Brook is suffering from a coach and volunteer turnover, and also athlete recruitment and program expansion problems. Things have gotten so bad that nobody wants to volunteer with this great organization, including students, staff, and instructors from Corner Brook's post secondary institutions, and its the athletes whom suffer from it. They even have difficulty recruiting board members whom are not parents or guardians. The same thing is now happening with Aqua Aces Swim Club where past and current coaching staff and volunteers are fed up with their Head Coach and Administration using the organization for their personal gain, use their power to hurt their athletes such as suspending Patrick Power for no reason, and athletes and parents are being caught in a power struggle. Because this problem happened before, especially May 2007, it seems that Leonard Roxon didn't learn from his mistakes like a true coach does. If this problem persists, don't be surprised if Swimming Newfoundland and Labrador intervenes and forcibly dissolve this club for power tripping, confrontational behaviour, and infighting. Keep in mind that provincial athletic associations do have an authority to shut down their clubs if management and coaching staff are behaving in a dysfunctional way. In the meantime, I have a message for all sport specific clubs in Western Newfoundland, especially Special Olympics Corner Brook and Aqua Aces Swim Club. Sport is for the betterment of the athletes and person, not for a coaches or manager's personal gain or gain power at the expense of volunteers and athletes. As for Thomas Power, if he continues to have problems with Aqua Aces Swim Club, and they continue to suspend Patrick for no reason, he should file a complaint with Swimming's Governing Body, Swimming Newfoundland and Labrador.

    • Jan
      February 08, 2013 - 10:10

      No where did it say Special Olympics. You really need to get facts before you post your opinion about a subject you know nothing about. My fear for your small community is that Mr. Roxon will quit as the coach because the lack of support from the parents who obviously know little about Canadian swimming or coaching, and you will be stuck with a "coach" with his/her level one or two coaching certificate (which you can get very easily for any sport) that knows NOTHING about coaching, tequnique or zone training. Again, just another reason Canadian Swimming is near the bottom. Sad when children are given all the choices and we as adults have to try and teach with no enforceable rules to be followed. I fear for our future.

    • Jan
      February 08, 2013 - 10:16

      None of the things are banned. It amazes me when people do not read the article or research. Unbelievable. The article has done what it was supose to....make people question an honest man. I am so disappointed with this family. An attack on a coach for what? Emails that he receives from Swim Canada? He forward the information to the members of the team. Take it or leave it but dont punish the man for doing his job.

  • abby
    February 07, 2013 - 11:14

    I followed his daughters career all these years and was so proud for her, but now i wonder if all those things he mentioned was the result of her winning so many contests?

    • jan
      February 08, 2013 - 11:23

      Abby..Why would you wonder that? I dont see anywhere where it says or has been proven that anything banned is being used. You should really remove your comment as it is unfair that you are implying in some sort of "wondering way" that his daughter took something banned. Im sure that all National Team members are tested on a regular basis by the CCES(Canadian Centre for Ethic in Sport) to ensure that the athletes are NOT cheating..

  • Rob Dower
    February 07, 2013 - 10:56

    Just a correction to the article. I was taught to swim by the Regional Aquatic Center when I was a child, not by Leonard Roxon. I was attending Adult Lap Swims in the evening as a way to attain a healthier lifestyle and shed some weight. Mr Roxon showed up some nights voluntarily and provided coaching services to myself and 3 or 4 other adults, until I found I was getting nothing out of it anymore and told him I was just going to swim on my own for the remainder of the evening swims. Evening swims usually have 15 - 20 people there swimming.

  • Carol
    February 07, 2013 - 10:32

    Bravo to Mr. Dower for taking a step for the children. Mr. Roxon, with power comes great responsibility, especially when working with children other than your own. I for one would like to judge these emails for myself. How are the public to know that anything was taken out of context? Are we to take your word for it? I believe that when given the leadership of our children, that we, as parents (brothers included), should have a voice for our concerns. Isn’t this supposed to be for the fun of everyone? As a volunteer years ago, working with children in various groups, I always felt that when someone was upset with things that it was my job to listen and help them, not attack. Yes I said attack. You imply that when stating: 1. You took away the free swimming lessons. I’m pretty sure that the parents of this child could afford it and even if they couldn’t, why even go there. 2. That they are upset because their child was disciplined and felt that they deserved special treatment from you because they “know” you personally. You think that you are that popular? 3. You have sought legal advice. Really…….What for? Because a few people don’t like how you coach? Why make this personal? All because someone dare question you? I think that you should be more charitable. After all, you are making impressions on young lives.

  • Susan
    February 07, 2013 - 10:14

    Mr. Dower seems to have spent the past 4 years or more defending his country and now he has returned to Stephenville with the intent to defend his town, and the children of this town. Good on you Mr. Dower for standing up to an individual like this! You have the support from the town!

  • Natasha Watkins
    February 07, 2013 - 09:43

    I've had mr.roxon as my coach for four years, and he is one of the best coaches i've had and i've had many. He cares for us and helps us get to the top, He gives us the choice to follow his advice or not, never has he made us. Since being on his team i've improved so much.. he's a great coach.

    • Isabelle
      February 07, 2013 - 19:20

      Mr. Roxon is the best coach. Since I've had him has a coach he has helped me improve my technique and time. I just won a gold medal, thanks Mr. Roxon:)

  • Thomas Power
    February 07, 2013 - 09:36

    Here is a hyperlink to a document from the American Academy of Pediatrics condemning the use of performance enhancing substances among children. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/115/4/1103.full.pdf

  • Jack
    February 07, 2013 - 09:12

    Apparently, this is not the first time Leonard Roxon has got himself in hot water for being too demanding towards his Swimmers, Volunteer and Coaching Staff, and even administration at the Regional Aquatic Centre. In fact, according to "The Western Star - Letter to the Editor" entitled "Another side of the Roxon debate", it seems that Mr. Roxon has a history of being over-aggressive, confrontational, and other Gordon Ramsay type abusive leadership methods on not only his Swimmers and their caregivers like he is showing now, but also his Volunteers and Coaching staff like in May 2007. If I can use the quote from that letter, "His confrontational and over-aggressive approach in dealing with any issue lead to the resignation of the coaches last May 2007 and almost resulted in the demise of the local swim club", Mr. Roxon's past over-demanding conduct might be showing itself again. Source (for "fair comment" purposes) - http://www.thewesternstar.com/Opinion/Letters-to-the-Editor/2008-09-04/article-1483832/Another-side-of-the-Roxon-debate/1 While I applaud Mr. Roxon for trying to be proactive in dealing with some medical issues Swimmers might face, including Iron Deficiency and eating the right foods, at the same time, he has to do it in a less demanding approach. As for the Gu Energy Gel, since some of their products might contain excessive amounts of caffeine, even though caffeine has no restrictions under WADA guidelines, too much of this drug can cause severe side-effects and can hurt an athlete's performance. In other words, Robert Dower does have some concerns over this product even if caffeine is not WADA restricted.

  • Soft Cell
    February 07, 2013 - 08:09

    So Western Star, you finish the research on this story before you publish it. It it true what Mr. Roxon says that these suggestions he made actually a part of the National Swimmers Guidelines?? Look it up and show us.

    • david
      February 07, 2013 - 13:05

      Honestly, I'm shocked they went this far!...the Western Star will never be mistaken for the Washington Post. (Truthfully, I thought this story was about someone complaining that they don't clean the pool often enough...seriously.)

  • Jack
    February 07, 2013 - 07:48

    Seeking legal counsel because someone has concerns, Mr. Roxon? Remember the old saying "if you can't handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen", meaning if you can't take different opinions, concerns, and criticism, then you're not fit to be in a position of authority like a coach. In fact, I'm a Powerlifting Coordinator with a Special Olympics Powerlifting Program, and I have parents of Special Olympians raising concerns about my methods sometimes. While I defend my actions based on my considerable years of Powerlifting experience, including numerous competitions at national and international levels, I don't go around suspending athletes or pursue legal action when a parent or athlete voices a concern as I can face serious consequences from Special Olympics Newfoundland and Labrador and even Special Olympics Canada. Secondly, I don't go overboard with nutritional and health matters as athletes will still get sick regardless of the over-bearing precautions you want them to take. That's life.

  • Shining
    February 07, 2013 - 07:20

    About 45 years ago I used to play ladies softball. Thoroughly enjoyed getting together with my friends for comraderie, exercise, just being a team member and socializing after the game. There were some there, however, who were out to win trophies & grants being offered at that time. Became too competetive for my liking. Whatever happened to just plain old fun & enjoyment? Not everyone aspires to be an olympian,

  • Thomas Power
    February 07, 2013 - 07:15

    Leonard Roxon has NEVER given our son free swimming lessons. This is a complete and utter fabrication.

  • Jack
    February 07, 2013 - 07:13

    Leonard Roxon, you said in an e-mail that you have a right to choose whom you coach. Not only is this statement unethical, but you might be violating Swim Canada and Swimming Newfoundland and Labrador regulations and Code of Ethics. If you coach a Special Olympics program, you could get in serious trouble as your move violates Special Olympics Canada's "Inclusion Policy". Therefore, Mr. Roxon should be banned from coaching with Special Olympics as punishment for being choosy with whom he coaches. Secondly, if you keep being too heavy handed on your Swimmers, you will not just face losing your position as Head Coach, but nobody will want to train under you. Message for you Mr. Roxon, ease off on your Swimmers and stop suspending them for speaking up as Canadian Law states we have a right to do so.

  • Thomas Power
    February 07, 2013 - 07:06

    For the record I am Patrick's father. Mr. Roxon has never expressed any concerns about the conduct of my son up to February 4th when he announced he would no longer be coaching Patrick due to alleged misbehaviour. The due process outlined in the Constitution and By-laws of the Aqua Aces Swim Club was not followed. As of today my wife and I have received no information of any kind from the Aqua Aces as to why our son was expelled from the team.