Five Races To Watch At Canadian Pan Pac 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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Coach Mike 1952
4 years ago

Any place to get results?

4 years ago

Any live result link? because this is not working for me:

Reply to  asd
4 years ago

There are already results, try again.

Reply to  joseph
4 years ago

yes, it get fixed

4 years ago

what happened to santo condorelli

Reply to  coley
4 years ago

He is now representing italy

Reply to  coley
4 years ago

He’s swimming in Italy. His father is Italian and he’s decided to exercise his Italian sport citizenship. He has to swim in Italy for a year in order to be eligible to qualify for the Italian Olympic Team. Apparently, he likes his Olympic odds better as an Italian.

judy De Haven
Reply to  coley
4 years ago

Now swimming for Italy.

Reply to  judy De Haven
4 years ago

Now working on meeting the 6-month requirement to be eligible to swim for Italy**. While it seems to be “Plan A,” Santo in interviews has definitely danced around a full commitment to swim for Italy.

Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

Oooooops sorry, that’s right 6 months not a year.

4 years ago

What about women’s 100 back! Hello! World Record holder in this one! vs. Taylor Ruck

4 years ago

Wiseman has her appendix out two weeks ago but is back in the pool.

4 years ago

The first one, the women’s 200 free, will be a very interesting races considering the recent (at Mare Nostrum tour) PBs swum by Smith and Sanchez and Oleksiak’s training at Gators. And then, obviously, Ruck, a unique talent in my opinion.
Also Mackenzie Padington swam recently her PB at 1.59.09, so the very young Canadian 800 free relay team could be a great competitor for USA and Australia already next month, but particularly in 2020, in Tokyo.

4 years ago

cant wait

4 years ago

Livestream ?

judy De Haven
Reply to  James Sutherland
4 years ago

I’m Canadian, Clicked on link, said I could not view from my Browser. Help!

Reply to  judy De Haven
4 years ago

It doesn’t start until 12 ET! Also the CBC Sports App works for it. Free to download. Not a plug, just trying to help!

Reply to  James Sutherland
4 years ago

Mine keeps saying “Program about to start”….. ;(

They are not even updating LIVE results or meet mobile either. Wow.

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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