Eynon build­ing his En­niskillen squad

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - SPORTS - TODD HAMBLETON

Former Corn­wall Sea Lions head coach Robert Eynon con­tin­ues to build the pro­gram for the En­niskillen Lake­landers in North­ern Ire­land.

In an in­ter­view with the Im­par­tial Re­porter news­pa­per, pre­view­ing the be­gin­ning of a new swim sea­son, the coach talked of de­vel­op­ing a larger squad of top com­peti­tors.

Eynon, who be­came the Lake­landers coach last Jan­uary, also talked about it be­ing a chal­leng­ing mis­sion.

“This past sea­son saw some suc­cess, but my hope is that we move for­ward, that we see a pro­gres­sion of more swim­mers to the higher lev­els of Ir­ish swim­ming,” Eynon said. “I want to de­velop an en­tire team of great swim­mers.”

En­niskillen, pop­u­la­tion 13,500, is a town and civil par­ish in County Fer­managh.

“I had been liv­ing in Wales, but was not happy,” Eynon said. “So I be­gan search­ing for teams that I thought might fit with my char­ac­ter­is­tics, and found En­niskillen.”

Eynon talked in the ar­ti­cle about his coach­ing back­ground, in­clud­ing be­ing an as­sis­tant coach in Cairo, Egypt, with a large swim club.

Want­ing to ad­vance his ca­reer and be a head coach, Eynon noted that he had to choose be­tween two jobs, one in Corn­wall and one in Los An­ge­les. He chose the Sea Lions. “Small town, 70 swim­mers, a per­fect fit,” he said. “From that small team we had five se­nior na­tional qual­i­fiers, four Olympic trial swim­mers and two swim­mers (Tess Simp­son and Han­nah Rior­dan) on Canada’s na­tional team, both who won medals in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions.”

Eynon in­deed had a very suc­cess­ful stint in Corn­wall for sev­eral years. Simp­son went on to swim at the NCAA Di­vi­sion I level at Texas A&M, while Rior­dan com­peted for the Auburn Tigers in Alabama.

Eynon left the Sea Lions pro­gram in 2009.

There are just a few more weeks be­fore Green Val­ley’s Jes­sica Poirier be­gins her NCAA Di­vi­sion I women’s hockey ca­reer in Can­ton, N.Y, with the St. Lawrence Saints.

Poirier was a big of­fen­sive pro­ducer with the On­tario Hockey Academy in Corn­wall.

The Saints’ first game is an ex­hi­bi­tion tilt at Appleton Arena in Can­ton, on Sept. 30 against the McGill Martlets from Mon­treal.

The team hits the road for the sea­son opener on Oct. 6, play­ing the Mer­cy­hurst Lakers in Erie, Penn.

The 2017-18 sched­ule has the Saints play­ing two home games in mid-Novem­ber against their NCAA Quar­ter­fi­nal op­po­nent from a year ago, Bos­ton Col­lege.

And, the pro­gram will make its first-ever trip to Cal­i­for­nia. It’s just af­ter the Christ­mas break when the Saints will be head­ing to Ana­heim for a pair of con­tests in early Jan­uary against Lin­den­wood.

It’s a home­com­ing of sorts for some of the Saints – three of the St. Lawrence skaters are former mem­bers of the Ana­heim Lady Ducks hockey pro­gram.

“Ev­ery year we try to de­sign a sched­ule that will give our play­ers mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences,” said Saints head coach Chris Wells. “Last year we had the op­por­tu­nity to play the first women’s col­lege hockey games in ( Wash­ing­ton, D.C.). This year, our first trip to Cal­i­for­nia will give some of our play­ers a chance to play in front of friends and fam­ily.” tham­ble­ton@postmedia.com twitter.com/Free­hold­erTodd

SUP­PLIED Former Sea Lions coach Robert Eynon, work­ing in En­niskillen, in North­ern Ire­land.

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