arena Swim of the Week: 16-Year-Old Oliver Dawson Moves Up Canadian Rankings In 200 Breast

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Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

Grand Prairie Piranhas swimmer Oliver Dawson continued his ascent up the national age group rankings at the Western Canadian Championships last weekend in Winnipeg, appearing to take down a record that had been on the books for more than a quarter century.

Dawson clocked a time of 2:17.13 in the final of the 200 breaststroke, which at first glance, appeared to nab him the Alberta Provincial Record for 16-year-old boys established by two-time Canadian Olympian Morgan Knabe in 1998.

Knabe, who wore the maple leaf on his cap at both Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, set the previous record of 2:17.71 at the 1998 World Championships in Perth, Australia.

Split Comparison: Knabe vs Dawson

Knabe, 1998 Dawson, 2024
31.30 30.39
1:06.32 (35.02) 1:04.98 (34.59)
1:42.33 (36.01) 1:40.97 (35.99)
2:17.71 (35.38) 2:17.13 (36.16)

Looking at the all-time rankings for Canadians in the 15-16 age group, Knabe had actually been faster the year prior, going 2:16.73 at the 1997 Pan Pacific Championships. That time, done while he was 16, was not recognized as the official record for an unknown reason (perhaps club affiliation at the time being out of out of province), but regardless, Dawson’s swim was impressive.

Dawson had already been faster than Knabe’s 1998 time, as he produced a time of 2:17.70 at the 2023 World Junior Championships in September, which stands as the Alberta Record for 15-year-olds.

Relative to his swim at World Juniors, where he finished 13th, Dawson was much more aggressive in his swim at Western Canadians, opening more than two seconds faster through the 100-meter mark.

His split of 1:04.98 is within two seconds of his 100-meter PB of 1:03.17.

Split Comparison: Dawson vs Old PB

Dawson, 2023 Dawson, 2024
31.14 30.39
1:07.10 (35.96) 1:04.98 (34.59)
1:42.83 (35.73) 1:40.97 (35.99)
2:17.70 (34.87) 2:17.13 (36.16)

In the historical rankings, Dawson slots into 7th all-time in the Canadian 15-16 age group, moving up after previously sitting in a tie for 8th with Mathieu Bois with his old PB.

All-Time Canadian 15-16 Age Group Rankings, Boys’ 200 Breaststroke (LCM)

  1. Gabe Mastromatteo, 2:15.53 – 2018 Canadian Championships
  2. James Guest, 2:15.87 – 2013 Canadian World Trials
  3. Ryan Telford, 2:16.26 – 2015 Canadian Championships
  4. Mike Brown, 2:16.35 – 2001 Canadian Championships
  5. Morgan Knabe, 2:16.73 – 1997 Pan Pacific Championships
  6. James Dergousoff, 2:17.02 – 2013 Canadian Summer Championships
  7. Oliver Dawson, 2:17.13 – 2024 Western Canadian Championships
  8. Antoine Bujold, 2:17.65 – 2011 Canadian Summer Nationals
  9. Mathieu Bois, 2:17.70 – 2005 Invitation Internationale
  10. Matthew Huang, 2:17.88 – 1999 Canadian Summer Nationals

Dawson also won the 50 breast (28.97), 100 breast (1:03.46) and 200 IM (2:09.17) in Winnipeg, with the swim in the 200 IM marking a three-second best time and ranking him 11th all-time among 16-year-olds in Alberta.

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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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