Well-Being that Flows Into Exceptional Performance

At First Water, we help athletes, coaches and teams achieve excellence without sacrificing their mental and emotional well-being. Through combining Olympic high-performance experience and evidence-based scientific approaches, we train you to be fully present on and off the field of play.

Your best performance? It’s one of the First Water

What exactly is a performance of the first water? It’s one that’s marked by the greatest clarity, resilience, and ability to flow under pressure. This reference stems from the former system of grading diamonds by their water. A diamond of the first water is of exceptional quality because it has the greatest level of brilliance.

Derek and First Water are tapping into the essence of having a fierce composure in the face of life’s challenges. Having known and worked with Derek over 7 years, I can confidently say that you will be working with someone who embodies mindful and passionate performance in his work.” – Dr. Pippa Grange, Chief Culture Officer, Right to Dream

Our Mission / Our Journey

Over 30 years ago, I was in finals of the 110m hurdles at the Olympic Trials for the Barcelona Olympic Games. Back then, I had a t-shirt that read “No Pain, No Gain, No Spain”, but on that day, I experienced a different kind of pain by falling short of my dream to make the Canadian Olympic team.

But I didn’t let that moment define me or keep me from staying true to my vision. 

I made the decision to turn the failure into something much bigger than myself: to help other athletes achieve their Olympic dreams – and this has been my mission ever since.

Since then, I’ve had the privilege of helping hundreds of athletes over nine Olympic Games realize their dreams. And now I’m here to help YOU do the same, whatever your next big dream might be.

I have gained a unique perspective that encompasses insight and expertise derived from working within National Sporting Organizations, National Governing Bodies, Provincial Sport Organizations, Multi-Sport Organizations and world-class Olympic teams; all with a proven record improving organizational outcomes and creating high performance cultures within the sporting sector.


  • Directed Team Canada's overall performance preparation strategies at the Olympic Games delivering progressive improvement in sport performance for the Canadian Olympic Team
  • Skilled human performance coach, with expertise in designing systems to train whole person holistic performances.
  • Empathetic and authentic leader, known for empowering people through consensus and establishing long-lasting relationships.
  • Trusted and certified mindfulness coach with a focus on evidence-based approaches that support human performance, well-being and conscious leadership practices.
  • Olympic Performance Director, Canadian Olympic Team, National Program Director and Team Leader, Athletics Canada over 9 Olympic Games
  • International athletes (110m hurdles) and Sprints / hurdles Coach, University of Toronto
  • Bilingual Senior Sports Performance Executive, Rowing Quebec
  • Performance sciences leader in delivering at-Games medical-paramedical, health, wellness, strength & conditioning, performance nutrition, technology, mental health and mental performance through 5 Olympic Games

The Olympic athletes were always front and centre for Derek and his strong commitment to them has made a significant impact during his time at the COC. Derek leaves us with a great legacy of team culture and sport performance.” – Eric Myles, Chief Sport Officer, Canadian Olympic Committee

We work with top performing organizations and teams from around the world ...

    • For National Olympic Committees to National Sport Federations to Local/Provincial Sport Federations
    • From elite athletes in Olympic sport (diving, gymnastics, rugby, rowing, swimming, kayaking)
    • To professional athletes in the National Hockey League
    • To junior and development athletes in a variety of different sports
    • To Olympic coaches, team leaders, and performance directors
    • As well as CEOs, entrepreneurs, first responders, musicians, and performing artists

Evidence-based Solutions that Work in High Performance Contexts

Take the next step by scheduling a call to chat about ways we can best work together to support you or your team.

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