arena Swim of the Week: Brayden Taivassalo Earns Upset 200 Breast Win At Canadian Trials

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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.

Brayden Taivassalo had a breakthrough performance on Tuesday night at the Canadian Swimming Trials in Toronto, erasing a massive deficit to secure victory in the men’s 200 breaststroke.

Taivassalo, 18, came into the competition as the second seed in the 200 breast, having produced a personal best time of 2:14.54 just over three weeks ago at the Pro Swim Series stop in Fort Lauderdale, but was still ranked more than two seconds back of James Dergousoff (2:12.33), who represented Canada in this event at the 2022 World Championships and was a finalist last summer at the Commonwealth Games.

In the prelims, Taivassalo hit a sizeable best time, clocking 2:12.86, but so did Dergousoff, who took off two seconds in 2:10.01, making Taivassalo’s path to victory seemingly impossible in the final.

However, things went just about perfectly for the Newmarket, Ontario native in the evening session. After sitting a second and a half back of Dergousoff at the 100-meter mark, Taivassalo matched him on the third 50 and then orchestrated a massive comeback on the way home, splitting 33.89 to erase the 1.5-second deficit and earn victory in a time of 2:11.28.


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A post shared by Brayden Taivassalo (@brayden.t04)

Relative to his two previous best times, Taivassalo made up nearly all of his ground on the back-half, closing with a blistering 1:07.31 second 100.

Split Comparison

2023 PSS – Fort Lauderale 2023 CAN Trials (Prelims)
2023 CAN Trials (Final)
30.61 30.62 30.13
1:04.45 (33.84) 1:04.25 (33.63) 1:03.97 (33.84)
1:39.42 (34.97) 1:38.26 (34.01) 1:37.39 (33.42)
2:14.54 (35.12) 2:12.86 (34.60) 2:11.28 (33.89)

Taivassalo, a Texas commit who currently trains with the Markham Aquatic Club and the squad at HPC – Ontario, now ranks as the fastest Canadian swimmer of all-time in the boys’ 17-18 age group, though the country recognizes official NAG records for 15-17s.

Mike Brown, the Canadian Record holder at 2:08.84, was the previous fastest swimmer for 17-18 boys with a time of 2:12.87.

Coming into the week ranked 22nd, Taivasslao is now the fifth-fastest Canadian overall, with Dergousoff’s prelim swim moving him up to second.

All-Time Canadian Performers, Men’s 200 Breaststroke (LCM)

  1. Mike Brown – 2:08.84 (2008)
  2. James Dergousoff – 2:10.01 (2023)
  3. Ashton Baumann – 2:10.69 (2016)
  4. Scott Dickens – 2:10.95 (2012)
  5. Brayden Taivassalo – 2:11.28 (2023)

On Thursday, Taivassalo hit another best time in the 100 breast, clocking 1:01.10 in the prelims before ultimately placing third in the final (1:01.22).

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2 months ago

Texas imcoming breaststroke class something else🤘

2 months ago

This kid is on a rocket ship. National team exposure and Coach Reese in Texas will only build him bigger and stronger. Look at those time drops from last years Jr title to now. Next year could be scary.

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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