Canadian Women Feeling Confident Heading Into Budapest

A few members of the Canadian World Championship team spoke to the media on a conference call Wednesday from their training camp in Ostia, Rome, as they prepare for the Championships set to begin on July 23rd in Budapest, Hungary

Penny OleksiakKylie MasseHilary Caldwell and Sandrine Mainville, all 2016 Olympic medalists, along with High Performance Director John Atkinson, spoke, and there was a general underlying theme.

That theme was confidence. The four women spoke again and again about how much more confident they are heading into the meet after how they performed in Rio.

After her surprising four medal performance last summer, Oleksiak spoke about how she’s managing having more expectations on her this time around. She talked about how she hasn’t changed her approach at all, and that even though she’s still a bit nervous and not exactly sure what to expect, she’s definitely feeling more confident with the racing she’s done in the last year. In terms of expectations, she said she doesn’t pay attention to anyone’s other than her own, and she hopes to be right around her own best times.

She was also asked about racing Sarah Sjostrom, responding by saying it’s a big race, it will be tough, but in the end she can only worry about and control herself. Oleksiak and Mainville also spoke about the 400 free relay, and how they hope to continue to inch closer and closer to the Australians and Americans.

In terms of general expectations as a team, Caldwell said it adds a bit of swagger and confidence to them, along with expectation, but she believes they can deliver. She also mentioned that losing the 200 back to Masse at Trials “lit a fire to be faster” in Budapest, and that she doesn’t like losing “her event”.

Asked about expectations on her after her incredible performance at Canadian Trials, Masse echoed Oleksiak, saying she’s just going to focus on herself and what she can control and all else will fall into place. On Masse, Caldwell also mentioned that Kylie does an amazing job of not stressing herself and letting outside expectation get to her.

Atkinson spoke about the women’s team, and how they have been developing year-by-year since 2012 and have been constantly improving. On the men’s team, he acknowledged that it’s taken them longer to rebuild, particularly after the retirements of Brent Hayden in 2012 and now Ryan Cochrane, but at the end of the day the expectation is that they continue to improve. He spoke highly of the continuous development of Yuri KisilMarkus Thormeyer and Javier Acevedo.

Atkinson also spoke briefly about next summer. Unlike 2014, Canada won’t have a Trials meet for the Commonwealth Games. Instead, the meets this summer, Worlds, WUGs, World Juniors and Canadian Nationals, will all count towards selection for the Commonwealth Games, which will be in April of 2018. They will then have a Trials meet in July for the Pan Pacific Championships, which take place in August in Tokyo.

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4 years ago

I don’t think Rio was a lucky fluke for the Canadians, as there definitely is some serious talent there, but I don’t know if they will be able to match their Rio medal count, because their freestyle relays are hampered with Ruck being absent. Plus Oleksiak is a bit of an unknown commodity because she was apparently injured earlier in the season. I do see them making a number of finals like Rio.

But if Oleksiak is on form like Rio and the injury was a non-factor, then I take back my comment from above about their medal count in Hungary.

And really watch out for the Canadian women in 2019 at the WC in South Korea.

Reply to  KRB
4 years ago

I agree that Penny may be a bit of a dark horse this year, but she did improve her 100m butterfly by almost 2 seconds between March and April. That’s a sign that at the least, her injury was minor and probably didn’t cause any permanent damage. We’ll see though, and I hope the Canadian team can even improve on Rio.

4 years ago

I like that the Canadian girls are so well spoken when taking to the press. I think part of their success has been learning to avoid strong statements (ie Chad Le Clos, Lily King). If they keep this us they’ll avoid extra pressure and show maturity.

Regarding Oleksiak – I’m a huge fan of her, but I’m hoping Sjostrom win all her races this time, with Oleksiak finishing on the podium. Again it would be nice if Oleksiak can avoid the added pressure to be the front runner down the line in 2020.

Reply to  Matterson
4 years ago

Think Oleksiak is very capable to handle re:pressure. She is very laid-back with a great support system, and she seems to be the type of person to say “Hey — I got my medals at Rio — so anything that happens from this point on is a bonus.” I don’t think at all she is bothered about being a front-runner or having to defend her medals.

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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