4 Storylines To Watch At 2022 Canadian World Championships / Comm Games Trials

2022 CANADIAN SWIMMING TRIALS

Canada’s top swimmers have made their way to Victoria, British Columbia for the 2022 Canadian Swimming Trials. This meet will serve as a selection event for several international meets in the summer of 2022 including the Commonwealth Games, the World Para Swimming Championships, and “additional international events” such as the 2022 World Swimming Championships.

Canada is fresh off a 6-medal haul at the Tokyo Olympics and the majority of its contingent from that meet will be back in action, vying for a spot on a team this summer. While every event will be worth keeping track of, here are four of the major storylines to keep an eye out for this week:

1) Ingrid Wilm The Breakout Backstroker

Kylie Masse is the favorite in all three backstroke events, considering her recent silver medal Olympic swims in both the 100 and 200 backstroke. In Tokyo, Taylor Ruck joined Masse in the backstroke events after placing second in both events at Trials. In the 100 backstroke, however, three women swam under the FINA A cut of 1:00.25 when Ingrid Wilm came into the wall with a 1:00.19 for third place.

She was slower than Ruck’s 59.60 for second, meaning that she missed out on qualifying for her first-ever Olympic Games. Wilm didn’t let that stop her from achieving backstroke dominance in 2021 though and had a loud start to her debut ISL season.

Wilm, swimming for LA Current, threw down a 55.94 in the 100 backstroke at Match 4 to become the first woman under 56 seconds from Canada. She took out Masse’s record of 56.02 from back in 2016. As the season went on, Wilm continued to deliver sub-56-second swims and actually broke the Canadian record another two times at Match 5 (55.68) and Match 6 (55.61). Her third record made her the 9th-fastest performer in history.

Due to Swimming Canada’s selection procedures, Wilm didn’t qualify for the 2021 World Short Course Swimming Championships, meaning that these Trials will give her her first shot at qualifying for a major international meet since her short course breakout. Wilm has raced for Canada in the past, having swum at the 2016 Junior Pan Pacific Championships and the 2019 Summer Universiade.

While she’s among the fastest of all time in the 100 backstroke in the short course pool, she’s also a strong long course swimmer and actually swam a 59.88 at Trials during prelims, which would have gotten her a 12th place finals in Tokyo.

Wilm will be facing off again against Masse and Ruck in the event at Trials, who hold entry times of 57.70 and 58.55, respectively, while Kayla Sanchez is also slightly ahead with a 59.78. Behind the top four, a group of 1:00 swimmers follow in the form of Ashley McMillan (1:00.00), Regan Rathwell (1:00.16), Mary-Sophie Harvey (1:00.16), and Danielle Hanus (1:00.34).

Notably absent from the event and the meet is backstroker Jade Hannah. Hannah placed 9th in this event at Trials but has been as fast as a 59.63 before. Hannah swam to gold in both the 100 and 200 backstrokes a few years ago at World Junior Championships. She just wrapped up her NCAA season at USC but will not be racing at Trials.

Wilm will certainly be one to follow as she attempts to ride the short course wave into the long course season.

2) Ruck Could Repeat Her 2018 Feat

Two-time Olympian Taylor Ruck seems to be gearing up for a fast summer on the heels of her NCAA-title in the 200 freestyle for Stanford. Ruck won more than 10 medals in 2018 between the Pan Pacific Championships and Commonwealth Games and then won her first NCAA title the next year as a freshman.

At Pan Pacs she won 200 freestyle gold, 200 backstroke silver, and bronze in the 100 free, 4×100 free, and 4×200 free. At Commonwelath Games she won gold in the 200 free, silver in the 50 free, 200 back, 4×100 free, 4×200 free, 4×100 medley, and bronze in the 100 free and back.

Following that year, however, Ruck wasn’t as consistent on the international scene and she has recently shared that she struggled with an eating disorder, which impacted her training and performance.

Ruck has candidly discussed her eating disorder and has said that she’s excited to be racing again. She was back at Stanford this season and was among their many stars at NCAA Championships. Ruck raced the 100 and 200 backstrokes at the Olympic Games but has also been a dominant force in the freestyle for Canada.

She’s entered to race both the 100 and 200 back and freestyle at Trials and will be up against a familiar slate of competitors including the aforementioned Kylie Masse, Ingrid Wilm, and Kayla Sanchez, Penny Olekisak, Maggie MacNeil, Rebecca Smith, among others.

Just like in 2018, this summer will feature a Commonwealth Games and another major international meet (World Championships). That gives Ruck another chance to pull off another mega medal haul if she ends up competing at both meets.

3) Spots To Fill in the Men’s Freestyle and Backstroke

Only 8 men swam for Canada at the Tokyo Games in 2021 and 3 of those men won’t be back to race at Trials this week. 4-time Olympian Brent Hayden recently retired from the sport for the second time after a successful comeback and qualification for Tokyo.

Additionally, freestyle and backstroke Markus Thormeyer is absent from the psych sheets here, having swum both the 100 and 200 backstrokes, along with the 4×100 freestyle and medley relays. Without Hayden or Thormeyer, Canada is without half of its men’s 4×100 freestyle relay from Tokyo, which finished 4th overall.

The third man who isn’t racing at Trials is Cole Pratt who qualified to race the 100 backstroke in Tokyo and wound up in 26th place overall with a 54.27. Without those three men, freestyle and backstroke spots are up for grabs.

3A) Freestyle

Hayden raced the 50 freestyle in Tokyo alongside Josh Liendo and were the only ones under the FINA A at Trials. The prime candidate to snag a spot instead of Hayden is Yuri Kisil who raced the 100 free in Tokyo and posted a 22.15 at Trials last summer.

Another candidate is Olympian Ruslan Gaziev who missed the final by 0.06 seconds at Trials, but followed up by qualifying for the 4×100 freestyle relay when finished second in the 100 freestyle with a 48.81. Gaziev’s PB is a 22.46 from back in 2017 and he’ll likely need to shave off at least a bit of time in order to reach the top 2.

The other sub-23 men on the psych sheets are CAMO’s Mehdi Ayoubi with a 22.58, Edouard Fullum-Huot who holds a 22.73, and James Lebuke with a 22.99. The same men will be racing for the top spots in the 100 freestyle to qualify for individual and relay spots. In addition to the 50 freestyle crew, the top seeds in the 100 feature Finlay Knox, Stephen Calkins, Javier Acevedo, and Jeremy Bagshaw.

3B) Backstroke

Javier Acevedo is the top Canadian seed in the 100 backstroke with a 54.65 but he has been as fast as 53.64 before. In the 200 back Acevedo is the third-fastest entrant with a 1:59.90. Ahead of him are Blake Tierney and Richie Stokes who have hit 1:59.49 and 1:59.52, respectively. They swam those times at Olympic Trials last year and despite Tierney’s second place finish, he wasn’t selected for the team because he missed the FINA A.

Other Olympic Trials finalists that are in the mix here are Tayden De Pol of UBC, William Marois from CAMO, and Robert Hill, and Hugh McNeil of UBC.

It’s not often that the field at a Trials meet doesn’t feature either of the Olympians in that event from the year prior. With no Thormeyer or Pratt, it will be interesting to see who steps up to the plate and nab a spot on a national team.

4) Will Summer McIntosh Race All 5 Events?

Summer McIntosh is one of the quickest-rising and versatile swimmers in the world right now. She raced to a 4th place finish at the Olympic Games last year before coming into 2022 to break the world junior records in both the 200 fly and 400 IM. She’s one of few women in history to crack 4:30 in the 400 IM and is the fastest in the world this year by more than 5 seconds.

Her 400 IM time of 4:29.12 makes her the favorite to win the event at Trials considering that Olympians Sydney Pickrem, Tessa Cieplucha, and Bailey Andison are entered as the 2-3-4 seeds with a 4:35.15, 4:37.26, and 4:38.66. In the 200 butterfly, her 2:05.81 puts her in the top spot ahead of Ella Jansen‘s 2:10.00 and Mabel Zavaros‘ 2:10.18.

Her freestyle entry times Trials are also mostly field-leading. In the 400 free, she’s a 4:02.42, which is roughly six seconds quicker than #2 seed Emma O’Croinin (4:08.11). In the 800 she has an 8:25.04 entry time while Katrina Bellio is an 8:38.12. The only event in which she’s not the top seed in the 200 freestyle (Olympic bronze medalist Penny Oleksiak is #1 with her 1:54.70).

So the question is not which events McIntosh could contend for a national title – it’s whether she will attempt to pull off the quintuple at this meet. It’s notable that all 5 of these events take place on different days of the meet, meaning it’s not out of the question to race all 5. If she doesn’t scratch any events, she would race the 400 free on Tuesday, have a day off on Wednesday, the 200 free on Thursday, 200 fly on Friday, 400 IM on Saturday, and the 800 free on Sunday.

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Sherry Smit
2 months ago

Sandpiper’s swimmer, Abby Dunford, is the one I’m watching out for in the 1500! Great chances considering her successful young career, and her amazing training group (Grimes, Kuwata, Sims, and Weinstein). Best club distance group ever if you ask me, and I definitely see her going below the Fina A standard!

Last edited 2 months ago by Sherry Smit
Njones
2 months ago

Anyone, Swimswam?, have any insight as to Markus’s status in general? He’s active on social media with sponsors, but no mention at all of this week, the biggest meet in Canada and close to his home. He did compete as late as December. Injury? Break? Questioning retirement? Questioning HPC/VAN coaching changes after Xmas…?

CanSwim
2 months ago

Get ready for some eye-popping swims!

USA
2 months ago

It will also be interesting to see if Avery Wiseman can translate her recent yards success to meters. Canada is in DEEP need of a stud breaststroker.

Melanie
2 months ago

Jade Hannah seems to have had a very disrupted 2021/2022 season. She left Island Swim Club in 2020, wasnt able to break 1:01 in the 100 back at trials, and was out of NCAA’s this year with USC. She also isn’t on the psych sheet for trials this year at all… I hope all is well with her. She’s a great talent, I would hate to see her potential wasted

Canuswim
Reply to  Melanie
2 months ago

Why do you feel the need to point out girls that are struggling? So many threads you do this? Claire Tuggle recently too?

Sherry Smit
Reply to  Canuswim
2 months ago

Melanie also is constantly making rude remarks to athlete’s performances

SwimMom
Reply to  Canuswim
2 months ago

Didn’t you just point out a struggling swimmer in this comment? Why is it okay for you to do so?

Yikes
Reply to  SwimMom
2 months ago

I think it was a reference to Melanie’s recent finger-pointing at Tuggle, which happened during PAC-12s

Canuswim
Reply to  Yikes
2 months ago

Yes.

Hi dad
Reply to  Melanie
2 months ago

Don’t read into it 2 much she’s probably injured

Aaron
2 months ago

Another interesting thing is that MacNeil is entered in the 50 back but not the 50 fly

Aaron
Reply to  Aaron
2 months ago

wait im just blind

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
2 months ago

200 free should be a great race to watch, after Ruck’s fantastic NCAA performance.

Gen D
2 months ago

Do we know if the meet will be streamed on CBC?

Gen D
Reply to  James Sutherland
2 months ago

nice, thanks!