Five Races To Watch At Canadian Pan Pac Trials

2018 CANADIAN SWIMMING TRIALS

Canadian swimmers will be in action July 18-22 in Edmonton, Alberta as they’ll vie for a spot at the Pan Pacific Championships which take place August 9-12 in Tokyo.

Athletes who win an Olympic event at the Trials will automatically qualify for the Pan Pacs, as will the top-4 finishers in the 100 and 200 free for relays, and any swimmers who finish 2nd while also being under the FINA ‘A’ standard likely to be added as well (and potentially 3rd place finishers). For a full breakdown of the selection criteria, click here.

Below, take a sneak peak at a few of the more intriguing events to watch with the Trials getting underway on Wednesday:

Note: it felt strange leaving world record holder and reigning World Champ Kylie Masse off this list, but she should win both the 100 and 200 back events easily (especially with Taylor Ruck not swimming them). However, anytime she competes a crazy fast swim is likely to go down, so also keep an eye on the two women’s back events.

Women’s 100 Free

The women’s 100 free could easily be the race of the meet. It’s arguably Canada’s most competitive event, and the swimmers will be looking to ensure a spot on the Pan Pac team and on the 400 free relay in Tokyo.

Commonwealth bronze medalist Taylor Ruck leads the field, having been 52.96 in December and 53.08 on the Gold Coast, with 2016 Olympic champ Penny Oleksiak and Alexia Zevnik also under 54 this year in 53.85 and 53.95 respectively. Then there’s Kayla Sanchez, who swam a personal best of 54.03 at the Canet-en-Roussillon stop of the Mare Nostrum Tour, and Rebecca Smith, who has a PB of 54.6, was 54.7 in March, and has split under 54 last summer on a relay.

Ultimately all five swimmers have a great shot to qualify for Pan Pacs in at least one other event as well, so whoever finds themselves on the outside looking in won’t be completely written off for the relay. Once in Tokyo, the individual 100 free comes before the 400 free relay, so how the swimmers fare there will likely determine who will get on the team. This is more about just watching a great race between some of the best young swimmers in the world.

Men’s 200 Back

It has been some time since Canada had a competitive man in the 200 backstroke, with no representatives at the last two World Championships or the 2016 Olympic Games. However, the tide looks to be turning, with Markus Thormeyer swimming the fastest Canadian time since 2009 (1:57.82) at the Commonwealth Games in April while placing 5th.

In addition to Thormeyer’s emergence, Javier Acevedo was one of the fastest swimmers in the NCAA this season with a yards time of 1:39.06, and broke the 2:00 barrier for the first time at the Santa Clara Pro Swim in June (1:59.97). Throw in rising youngster Sebastian Somerset, who won the Canadian National title in April in a 2:00.12, along with varsity swimmers Robert Hill and Josiah Binnema who have also been 2:00 this season, and you’ve got a very intriguing race.

Thormeyer should win, but the FINA ‘A’ time of 1:58.55 is certainly within reach for Acevedo and possibly the others, which makes the race all the more exciting.

Women’s 400 IM

Both of Canada’s World Championship bronze medalists will be in action in the women’s 400 IM, with Sydney Pickrem (2017) seeded 1st and Emily Overholt (2015) back in 8th.

Sydney Pickrem 2017 World Championships Budapest, Hungary (photo: Mike Lewis)

Pickrem is coming off another strong NCAA season, and has posted some solid long course times thus far while electing not to compete at the Commonwealth Games. She’ll be the big favorite to win, while Overholt is still slowly returning to form after taking off time for injury after the 2016 Games. She’s been steadily improving, but will need a big swim to challenge the FINA ‘A’ cut of 4:43.06 and the likes of Pickrem, Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson and Sarah Darcel.

Two of Canada’s three representatives in the event at the Commonwealth Games, both Seltenreich-Hodgson (4th) and Darcel (5th) got under 4:40, and will keep Pickrem on her toes here. This is one of the events where at least three swimmers are expected to get under the FINA ‘A’ time, and while whoever gets 3rd might get on the team, they also might not, depending on the numbers. Which makes getting your hand on the wall 1st or 2nd all the more crucial.

Canada’s third entrant on the Gold Coast, Mary-Sophie Harveyhas withdrawn from the meet.

Men’s 100 Free

The men’s 100 free is another event that brings some intrigue with relay spots on the line. Yuri Kisil is the clear front-runner, followed by UBC teammate Markus Thormeyer, and both will be looking to make a statement and get under the FINA ‘A’ cut of 48.93.

Javier Acevedo. Courtesy of Rafael Domeyko.

Acevedo is seeded just 13th at 50.53, which maybe causes him to fly under the radar a bit, but he did split 48-mid twice last summer in Budapest and can definitely challenge to get into the top-2. And then there’s a great battle for the last spot on the relay between the likes of Ruslan GazievMehdi AyoubiStephen CalkinsAlex PrattCarson Olafson, etc.

Women’s 100 Breast

The women’s 100 breaststroke event will pit veterans Kierra Smith, Rachel Nicol and Ashley McGregor up against the next generation in Faith KnelsonKelsey Wog and Avery Wiseman.

Smith maintained her spot atop the heap for the time being at the Commonwealth Games, winning silver in 1:07.05, but the 16-year-old Knelson wasn’t too far behind with a PB of 1:07.30 in the prelims. Nicol was a bit off on the Gold Coast, but was an Olympic finalist in 2016 and a semi-finalist last summer in Budapest and therefore should be expected to be right in the thick of things.

Those three should all be under the FINA ‘A’ standard of 1:07.58, but just like in the 400 IM, you definitely don’t want to finish 3rd and be unsure of whether or not you’ll qualify for the team. And then we also can’t count out someone like Wiseman, who’s also 16, or two other teenagers in Nina Kucheran and Bailey Herbert, who have improved leaps and bounds since the last Canadian Trials meet 15 months ago.

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Readyroomswimmer

Acevedo is going to have a big meet … Watch out for him in the 200 Free also big things coming

LAYNE4

11th in the 200?

Splasher

You mean Markus Thormeyer.

Question

Livestream ?

swimlover

cant wait

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James is currently a university swimmer for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. He is studying economics. Along with swimming, he also loves hockey. He's in his 14th season as a competitive swimmer. Best Times - SCM (LCM) 50 FR - 24.56 (25.12) 100 FR - 53.58 (56.70) 200 FR - 1:56.07 (2:04.29) 1500 …

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