“Aside from everything else, it’s her sense of humour and laugh I’m going to miss the most,” said close friend Jennifer Luzia, when asked about Pam Kidney’s retirement from her role as Executive Director of Nova Scotia Artistic Swimming. Although she recited many of Pam’s accomplishments in the sport, it’s the person whose “laugh can fill up a building,” she will miss the most.
After 33 years at the helm of Synchro Nova Scotia which recently re-branded as Nova Scotia Artistic Swimming, Pam Kidney has moved on to retirement, leaving a sport where she has been a competitor, an official, a coach and an administrator. Before moving into her position with the provincial organization, Pam made her mark as an official. She was the youngest to ever become a Level 3 official, achieving that when still a teenager. She was one of the youngest ever to judge in Canada at an Olympic Trials.
According to Jennifer, the Executive Director of Alberta Artistic Swimming, Pam has been a passionate advocate for the sport and did everything she could to keep artistic swimming vibrant, especially in her beloved home province of Nova Scotia.
That devotion to the sport, and to the people involved in artistic swimming, was echoed by Jaime Thompson, Technical Director, Alberta Artistic Swimming. Originally from Nova Scotia, she’s known Pam since she was 5 years old, and cites identifying talents within other people as a trait that Jaime sees as one of Pam’s true strengths. She credits her for the personal encouragement to take on new challenges. “Pam recognizes things in people and when she sees something in someone, she’s willing to help them get there.” That persistence, encouraging Jaime to take her first course in facilitator training and for seeing something within herself that Jaime didn’t recognize, is “one of the reasons that I am grateful to Pam.”
As a fellow Nova Scotian, Jaime also valued that Pam has been an outstanding advocate for the Atlantic provinces. “She really pushed for Competition Development opportunities to happen in Nova Scotia, and as a result multiple courses were made possible over the last few years.” She also ensured that the training that is so integral to athlete development was available to coaches, especially in the rural areas.
As an Executive Director colleague, Jennifer reflected on Pam’s willingness to have a heated debate while still respecting the rights of others to a different opinion. She always “kept things in perspective” and presented the reality of the Atlantic provinces in an objective way for others to understand during national discussions. She never let a difference of opinion last beyond the discussion or interfere with the friendships she had throughout the artistic swimming community.
The legion of friendships she developed through her involvement in sport includes Anna Goski, who first got to know Pam as a coach to her daughters. “She had a special rapport with her swimmers, especially the teenagers,” Anna recalled. “She could always explain things, and critique progress, in a way they understood, but doing it positively.” And her involvement in their lives didn’t end with the coaching, as Pam stays in touch with many of her athletes to this day. That closeness included Anna and her late husband Earl, who both served as Presidents of Synchro Nova Scotia and worked alongside Pam to help build the sport in their province. She became a very dear friend to Anna as they travelled together, “She’s a part of my family now and I hope she has a good retirement with more time to travel,” Anna added.
As Pam heads into this next phase of her life, her friends agree they will miss seeing her at events but wish her nothing but the best. They hope that she will be “filling up her days with her crafts, her quilting, her travels and finds nothing but health and joy in her retirement.”
On behalf of the entire Canada Artistic Swimming family, we thank her for her service to our sport, and wish her the same!