Canada’s Youth Look To Be The Key For Canadian National Team

Mitch Bowmile
by Mitch Bowmile 0

November 23rd, 2013 Canada, News

Fast swimming from young athletes at the Canada Cup is showing good promise for the future of team Canada.

Canadian swimmers are gathering at the University of Toronto Varsity Pool this weekend to compete in the annual Canada Cup. The Canada Cup attracts some of Canada’s elite swimmers, but this year, it’s being dominated by the country’s youth.

In last night’s finals session, teenage swimmers won four events and multiple teenagers came home with silver and bronze medals. Every single final had at least one teenage swimmer in it as well as a total of three 14 year olds swimming in the finals session.

Canadian teenage superstar Noemie Thomas, 17, came home with two medals last night: silver in her focus event the 100m fly and a bronze in the 50m freestyle.

Young Canadian swimmers such as Thomas are becoming a huge factor on the Canadian National Team. Of the 34 swimmers sent to the World Championships last summer, 14 of them were teenagers.

Three of those teenagers qualified for finals. Brittany MacLean who wasn’t at her best due to an onslaught of injuries last season finished seventh at the 2012 Olympic Games in the 400m freestyle, breaking the Canadian record in prelims.

“I was happy with the time, but it hurt a little bit just to have Katerine (Savard) beat me by 0.04 (seconds), but I mean, both of us at this point, we’re never close to what we want anyway,” Thomas said.

Thomas, coming off a seventh place finish in the 100m butterfly at the World Championships in Barcelona last summer has established a rivalry with Canada’s other butterfly icon: Katerine Savard. Savard, 20, placed fifth in the 100m fly at last summer’s World Championships.

The rivalry between the two young swimmers is helping them drive each other to improve. Thomas is heading into tonight’s finals to face Savard again in the 200m butterfly. The 200, is not Thomas’ specialty, but she’s been working towards swimming fast in the longer event as well.

“I want to see me dropping a couple seconds, going maybe 2:07 or 2:06,” Thomas said about tonight’s final.

One of the biggest keys to Canada’s success in the pool: college recruitments. Many of Canada’s elite young swimmers are heading south of the border to the United States to train, joining some of the best teams in the world to swim in the NCAA division.

Thomas signed with the University of California Golden Bears last week, a team that has an extremely competitive environment including world-renowned teenage superstar Missy Franklin. Canadian age-group record holder Evan White signed with the University of Michigan Wolverines, a team that’s had some impressive IMers.

“It has a good group of guys to train with,” White said. “There’s a couple other 200 IM swimmers that go sub two minutes long course.” White set the Canadian record in the 200m IM in the 15-17 age-group category at the FINA World Cup in Dubai at the end of August. White’s time of 2:00.31 will be very competitive in the NCAA next season.

White swam to a fourth place finish in the 400m IM and won a silver medal in the 100m IM behind multi-time CIS champion Coleman Allen.

“I really have to work on my freestyle coming home, picking up my stroke rate and kick, hopefully I’ll just keep on improving,” White said in response to questions about his 100m IM performance.

With a very young national team, time will tell how young Canadian swimmers well develop to take that next step onto the international scene.

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About Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile

Mitch worked for 5-years with SwimSwam news as a web producer focusing on both Canadian and international content. He coached for Toronto Swim Club for four seasons as a senior coach focusing on the development of young swimmers. Mitch is an NCCP level 2 certified coach in Canada and an ASCA Level …

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