Eric Hedlin is known as a fast 1500 meter swimmer. Currently he’s posted the 12th fastest 1500 in the world for 2013. Yet, despite a strong performance at Canadian trials he was narrowly touched out by William Brothers for a spot on the world championship team (Ryan Cochrane won the event). But Hedlin didn’t let that kill his Barcelona dreams – he jumped on the opportunity to qualify for the Canadian open water team at the Cancun 1oK world cup (which served as the Canadian qualifier) and was the second Canadian finisher (Olympic bronze medalist Richard Weinberger was the first Canadian to finish). Looking to Ous Mellouli who successfully transitioned from the pool to the open water, Hedlin hopes to take his pool speed to the top ranks of the open water event. We caught up with Eric in Russia to get his perspective on the transition:
Tell us what you’re up to right now?
I am currently in the athlete village in Kazan Russia preparing for FISU
How are you making the transition from pool to open water swimming?
I need to work on things like general pacing, drafting, and rounding buoy.
Did Ous Mellouli’s success in open water affect your decision to add the 10K to your program?
Yeah, it was good to see how easily he transitioned from one to the other. He has a lot of talent which probably made it easier but it was still good to see that it is possible.
Canada has a great open water swimming tradition, has Richard Weinberger’s success inspired more Canadian swimmers to get into open water swimming?
I’m not that sure as far as everyone across Canada but his success definitely inspired me to start.
You haven’t swam a lot of 10K’s (the qualifier in Cancun was one of your first races), what have you learned so far?
I made a lot of mistakes in the Cancun 10k. My biggest mistake was going the wrong way near the beginning, so I learned that I need to get to know the course better before I swim. I was also bad at rounding the buoys because I would just let everyone go ahead. I can’t let myself get pushed around by everyone so much. The race in Barcelona might be raced completely differently but I also have a better idea of how to properly pace the 10k.
What are the expectations for the Canadian open water team in Barcelona?
I want to come top 8.