Canadian Swimmers Hope Open Water World Cup Serves As Olympic Tuneup

by SwimSwam 3

December 01st, 2023 Canada, News, Open Water

Courtesy: Swimming Canada

FUNCHAL, Portugal – Three of Canada’s best open water swimmers are getting ready for their final tuneup before the Olympic year.

Hau-Li Fan, Eric Hedlin and Laila Oravsky will compete at the Open Water Swimming World Cup Saturday in Funchal, Portugal, on the picturesque Madeira archipelago.

All three swimmers, along with Emma Finlin, will compete at the Doha 2024 World Aquatics Championships, which is Canada’s last chance to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“This meet is mainly about fine tuning the last couple things before worlds,” said Hedlin.

The 30-year-old national team veteran and world championships medallist from Victoria is still seeking his first Olympic berth.

“I haven’t made an Olympic team and would love to do it this time around. This competition is all about taking everything, all the little lessons along the way and trying to get everything right at the same time, possibly seeing what needs to be fine-tuned again going into worlds,” Hedlin said. “Open water is fun to do so I’m just coming in, jumping in there and racing, seeing how it feels and enjoying the whole process.”

The competition, originally scheduled for Eilat, Israel, will feature men’s and women’s individual 10-km races, with six laps of the course at Lido Bathing Complex. The men are set to race at 9 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET), with the women scheduled for 12:30 p.m. local (7:30 a.m. ET).

Joining Hedlin in the men’s race will be Olympian Hau-Li Fan, swimming his first international race in more than a year. Fan took a six-month break from training but has been back at the High Performance Centre – Vancouver for the past five months.

“It’s been going pretty well, especially the last three weeks have been good solid training,” said Fan, 26, who finished ninth in the men’s 10-km at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“It’s definitely been an up and down journey. I took a bit of needed time off to kind of figure out my life and take care of my mental health,” Fan said. “Coming back to swimming has been a really great experience and I don’t regret this comeback whatsoever, regardless of what the outcome is.”

Oravsky, meanwhile, is the rookie of the group at 16. The Barrie (Ont.) Trojans swimmer is fresh off her performances at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games, where she finished eighth in the women’s 1,500-m freestyle.

National Distance/Open Water Coach Mark Perry believes this is an essential part of the athletes’ preparation for Doha, where they can secure Olympic qualification.

“We have a great mix of experience and youth on the team and it’s exciting to be able to gauge what the gaps are and what they each need to do in their final preparations,” said Perry.

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Reply to  Catherine
3 months ago

Thank you for sharing the link. How was the race? Did Laila finish it? I see DNF against her name?

3 months ago

Conditions on the course were less than ideal today, choppy and big swells. The “pool swimmers” will not be happy if it stays like that for tomorrow’s race proper. True Openwater race with many variables, should be exciting racing.