2016 Canadian Olympic Trials: Wood Heads Up Men’s Backstroke Field


After winning the 200 back at the 2013 World Championship Trials, Russell Wood has dominated the Canadian backstroke scene. He won both the 100 and 200 at the 2014 and 2015 trials, and will be the man to beat again this year. However, there are many up and coming swimmers who could give him a good run if they’re able to take off some time.

100 BACK

  • Top Seed – Russell Wood (53.96)
  • FINA-A Standard – 54.36
  • Number of Canadians Seeded Under FINA-A – 1
  • Notable Foreigners: Ryan Murphy, Jacob Pebley (USA), Corey Maine (NZL)

Wood comes in as the clear favorite in the 100, seeded over a full second ahead of the next fastest Canadian. He broke the 54 second barrier for the first time at the 2015 trials (53.96), and was solid again at Pan Ams finishing 4th in 54.30. At the World Championships in Kazan he was well off his time from trials, with a pair of 54.9 swims. Wood looks good to win the trials and make his first Olympic team, but if he wants to earn a second swim at the Olympics (something he was capable of last year at the World Championships) he’ll need to be better later in the summer.

The runner-up at the 2015 trials was Markus Thormeyer, who had a fantastic performance at the World Junior Championships last summer swimming the three fastest 100 back’s of his career, finishing 6th in the final. Thormeyer is seeded with the 55.84 he swam in December at the U.S. Winter Nationals (making him the 7th seed), but his best time from August puts him as the second fastest in the field to Wood (55.03).

Also swimming in the final at World Juniors was Javier Acevedo, who comes in as the official 2nd seed with his time of 55.24. Acevedo didn’t compete in this event at the 2015 trials, but he and Thormeyer will both be looking to pounce if Wood slips up. Acevedo and Thormeyer are both within reasonable striking distance of the FINA-A standard of 54.36, though they would both need to drop a decent chunk of time from their best times. Also of note is Acevedo’s short course time of 51.63 he posted in December.

Also looking to do some damage in the final will be Joe Bryam (55.72) and Adam Best (55.74), as well as 2015 CIS Champion Bradley Crocker (55.79) and 2016 champ Noah Choboter (55.78). Others to watch for include Cal Golden Bear Jeremie Dezwirek (55.94), freestyle phenom Yuri Kisil (56.61), and Rob Hill (55.87).

Among the international swimmers competing in this event is recent NCAA champion Ryan Murphy and Jacob Pebley of the United States, who both swim with Dezwirek at Cal.

I think we’ll seed Wood pull off the win, but I expect Thormeyer and Acevedo to be right behind, in contention for that FINA-A standard and a berth on the team.

200 BACK

  • Top Seed – Russell Wood (1:59.18)
  • FINA-A Standard – 1:58.22
  • Number of Canadians Seeded Under FINA-A – 0
  • Notable Foreigners – Ryan Murphy, Jacob Pebley (USA), Corey Maine (NZL)

The 200 back is one of just three events on the men’s side where no Canadian is seeded under the FINA-A standard, with top seeded Russell Wood (1:59.18) almost a second off the standard of 1:58.22. Wood will be favoured here as well, but could run into trouble with Markus Thormeyer.

Thormeyer, who was the runner-up to Wood at the 2015 trials, swam a personal best of 2:00.83 at the Arena Pro Swim in Austin in January. Swimming a best time at an in-season meet isn’t very common, and is a very good sign for Thormeyer heading into trials.

Third seed Jeremie Dezwirek’s best time of 2:00.79 dates all the way back to 2013, but was a very solid 2:01.36 to finish 3rd at the 2015 trials.

Javier Acevedo sits 4th with his 2:02.10 from the 2015 trials, but was 2:02.79 in late February signalling he is ready for a big personal best. Like in the 100, Acevedo posted a very fast 200 time in late 2015, going 1:54.86. If he can translate that success in the 200 back over to long course he’ll be a real threat to challenge for the win.

Also within striking distance are Rob Hill (2:02.19), Joe Byram (2:02.31), Chad Bobrosky (2:03.01), and Noah Choboter (2:03.09).


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7 years ago

It is difficult to grasp the idea of having swimmers from another country in your trials.
Of course they don’t use a system like ours and seldom fill a team.

Reply to  CoachGB
7 years ago

Theres actually quite a few countries that allow foreign entries to their trials meet…

7 years ago

Let’s go Jeremie!!! Sending PASA love

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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