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.

We’re committed to empowering clients with skills to navigate common inner challenges like self-doubt, anxiety, and perfectionism so they can show up as their best selves. Not just in the game, but in everyday life too.

Through combining Olympic high-performance experience and evidence-based mindfulness 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.

It can be hard to strengthen clarity, resilience and confidence when we so often focused on our outer landscape (external factors and goals). Too often, we end up disregarding what’s going on inside…which ultimately detracts from our life on the outside.

That’s why our focus is on helping you strengthen the inner landscape of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. This helps you build the key skill for an infinite sense of wellness that fuels performance: your ability to be fully present in the NOW.

As you develop a different internal relationship to each moment, you tap into an increased sense of presence, confidence, and ease that flows out into all of your actions – on and off the field.

With the right tools to consistently train in the inner game, you’ll experience greater levels of well-being, providing you with the energy that fuels your performance…sustainably.

Say hello to the joy of tapping your Inner Flow.

Work with us

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

The stumble that turned into our mission

I can picture it like it was yesterday…yet it’s now been over 30 years ago. The event was the Olympic Trials for the Barcelona Olympic Games. There was a packed hometown crowd for the finals in the 110m hurdles event. I felt the pressure of knowing that today would decide the next phase of my life. 

I had a motivational t-shirt back then that read “No Pain, No Gain, No Spain”, but on that day, I experienced a different kind of pain than was expected. I got off to a slow start on the field. Sensing it wasn’t going well, I panicked which only made everything worse… I hit the final hurdle  – I ended up in last place. 

Feeling my Olympic dream was over, I was devastated. I wish I had the mindfulness skills back then to help me better prepare and also to get me through one of the darkest periods of my life. But I didn’t let that moment define me or keep me from staying true to my Olympic dream. 

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 over 2000 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.

The outcomes of your efforts will be what they will be. But finding joy and trusting yourself in the process however it might be going in the moment… that’s real success.” – Derek Covington


  • Director, Olympic Performance, Canadian Olympic Team
  • International athlete (110m Hurdle)
  • National Program Director and Team Leader, Athletics Canada
  • Track and Field Coach, University of Toronto
  • President and Executive Director, Aviron Quebec Rowing
  • Project Lead for High Performance Training Centers
  • Project Lead, Health and Safety, Major Events
  • Faculty member, Mindspace-Wellbeing by Niminus
  • Mindfulness teacher, Mindwell-U
  • Certified mindful performance enhancement (mPEAK) instructor School of Medicine, Centre for Mindfulness at the University California, San Diego
  • Master of Science, University of Toronto

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

How does mindfulness help you achieve excellence?

Have a passion for constantly improving your game (in sport and in personal life) but struggle with anxiety, stress, worry, or perfectionism?

I’ve been there too, along with many high-profile athletes I’ve worked with.

As an introvert and a bit of a perfectionist, I struggled with a strong inner critic and constant rumination and overthinking. As someone who spent most of my life “in my head,” meditation showed me the freedom of realizing that I am not my thoughts.

My life changed when I realized that by turning towards my anxieties in stressful situations, like when public speaking, that I could transform my relationship to them. I stumbled upon meditation and mindfulness by chance. Twelve years ago, when pain in my back got so excruciating, that I ended up trying yoga which then led to a meditation practice that brought me calm and ease that I didn’t think was possible.

Highlights from the Canadian Olympic Committee Olympic Lab at the Sheraton Eau Claire in Calgary, Alberta on June, 21, 2017.

I knew that if meditation helped me, it could help other athletes and high-performers too. After bringing mindfulness into how we prepared for the Olympic Games, our athletes shared that they felt more confident and able to stay calm in moments of extreme pressure. They felt better, stronger, healthier…and most of all, proud of how they showed up.

Maybe you’ve never heard of mindfulness before or maybe you’ve tried to meditate but felt like your mind was too busy?

Neuroscience comes to the rescue! It shows that it IS possible to train the plastic properties of your brain for more calm, ease, and confidence. The same way as you physically train your body, you can train your mind through mindful meditation.

Join other top performers benefiting from our AAA approach

At First Water Performance, we’ve been able to help people from all walks of life achieve their dreams…

    • 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


We created a unique framework that we bring into our coaching and training, bringing together the best of high sports performance and mindfulness to help clients:

Gain an edge with sharper focus and attention - the mentally fit performer knows how to lead their thoughts and emotions, and not be led by them.

Feel and leverage the power of greater awareness - The resilient performer holds a brave space for emotions allowing them to respond rather than emotionally react.

Maintain stability at the peak and under pressure through increased agility by cultivating greater compassion, joy positivity, gratitude and knowing what makes you exceptional.

Download our free ebook and learn 3 Ways To Increase Attention, Awareness & Agility. Try out mindfulness practices that can change your brain for optimal performance!

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Ready to tap your own brilliance so you can experience more clarity, resilience, and flow in your life?

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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