It was a practice they won't soon forget for members of the Weyburn Silver Seals swim club. Two-time Olympian Martha McCabe was in the Opportunity City to give them some lessons on swimming and life. 

She came to Weyburn as part of the 'Head to Head' program, which pairs up Olympians with youth across the country. 

"Head to Head it a social enterprise that promotes mental resilience and physical wellness through Olympian led mentorship programs," McCabe explained. "We connect Olympic athletes with young people, whether they're in clubs, schools or varsity programs." 

The program in town was the Silver Seals swim club, who had two hours in the pool with McCabe on July 5, to go over technique and how to perform at their best. They also had a one-hour classroom session where she talked about the struggles of real life and what she has experienced to get to where she is. 

McCabe said she hopes the kids can all learn something important and it has nothing to do with swimming.

"The biggest message I hope the kids take away is that failing is okay and it's a good thing. You need to fail in order to progress at something," she said. "It's all going to be about sharing some of the roadblocks I faced along my journey in swimming and outside of swimming. I just want to help them see it's a necessary part of growing." 

The 29-year-old has been to two separate Olympic Games in her career and was the Canadian Swim Team Captain in 2016 at the Games in Brazil. She also has competed in numerous World Championships and won a bronze medal in 2011 in Shanghai.

Following her athletic career, she decided to start Head to Head to try and make a difference for the next generation. 

"I've seen so many young people face challenges and not know how to deal with them. Not knowing how to cope with some of those disappointments and those unfortunate events we all face to different degrees in our life. I just wanted to get out there and promote that resiliency." 

In 2016, she went on a cross-country tour to kickstart the program. She drove from coast-to-coast for 50 days and stopped at 45 different youth swim clubs across Canada. Over two years later, she now has roughly 30 current and former Olympians who make visits around the country to make things a little easier on her. 

Some of those athletes include Adam van Koeverden (kayak), Brianne Jenner (hockey), Jayna Hefford (hockey), Jamie Broder (volleyball) and Evan Dunfee (racewalking). 

"For the Olympians and the athletes who are finished competing and are now in that transition phase of their life of trying to plan what's next, it's such a nice stepping stone for them," McCabe noted. "They can go out and share those lessons, make those connections and have that feeling of being rewarded. Seeing all those smiles on their faces and see the sparks of inspiration flying."

Feedback has been great from kids, parents, coaches and teachers alike so far. Surveys have said kids have shown increased confidence, an increased ability to commit to something and a greater sense of resiliency. 

As for McCabe, the transition from athlete to mentor has been a smooth one. The kids look up to her and who knows, maybe she'll end up inspiring the next Canadian Olympian. 

(photo supplied by Martha McCabe)

(photo supplied by Martha McCabe)