2019 CANADIAN SWIMMING TRIALS
The 2019 Canadian Swimming Trials are set to go off on Wednesday, with athletes competing for spots on all of the major international meets this summer including the World Championships.
Below, check out four storylines to follow throughout the five-day meet:
Oleksiak Back In Action
Penny Oleksiak will be back in action vying for a spot on the Worlds team after she withdrew from last summer’s Pan Pacs. The four-time Olympic medalist is entered in six different events for the meet, including the 100 free and 100 fly, the two individual events she won medals in at the Rio Games.
Following her breakout Olympic campaign, the 18-year-old followed up with a strong 2017 Worlds but was a bit off of those times at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Facing a very strong field this week, it will be interesting to see what kind of form she’s in.
As was outlined in this article, there will be many swimmers coming off of the NCAA Championships who will be competing in Toronto. The women will have had a week and a half to prepare, while the men will have had only a few days as their NCAA meet only wrapped up Saturday night.
Taylor Ruck, who will be seeking to qualify for her first LC World Championships, is coming off an electric performance as a freshman for Stanford, and is also riding a hot streak in the big pool. She won a record eight medals at the Commonwealth Games last year and then followed up with five at the Pan Pacific Championships, including beating American Katie Ledecky head-to-head in the 200 freestyle.
Others coming off of NCAAs on the female side include 2017 World Championship medalist Sydney Pickrem, 2017 World Championship team member Mackenzie Padington, Commonwealth Games team member Mabel Zavaros, and Maggie MacNeil, who qualified for the Pan Pacs last summer but declined her nomination in order to swim at the Junior Pan Pacs.
For the men, there is 2016 Olympian and 2017 World medalist Javier Acevedo, along with James Guest, Ruslan Gaziev, and Will Pisani.
Short course yards and long course metres are obviously entirely different, so peaking for the two back-to-back is not going to be easy. It will be interesting to see how these swimmers manage it.
Masse Leads Stacked Backstroke Field
Kylie Masse headlines an incredibly stacked women’s backstroke field, as qualifying for the team will be her first step in trying to successfully defend her world title in the 100 back. Despite losing her world record to Kathleen Baker last summer, she has gone undefeated in major finals since the Olympics. Her 200 has also come a long way in a short amount of time, now having been sub-2:06 twice and ranking #1 in the world for the 2017-18 season.
Ruck is another one of the world’s best in the discipline after ranking fourth in the 200 and sixth in the 100 last season, but the talent doesn’t stop there. Kayla Sanchez and Danielle Hanus are both seeded under the FINA ‘A’ cut in the 100 as well, and Madison Broad and Jade Hannah aren’t far off. MacNeil is also a bit of a dark horse in this event after placing sixth at NCAAs.
In the 200, Kennedy Goss and Zavaros join Masse and Ruck under the ‘A’ standard in terms of seed time, while Broad and Aela Janvier are only tenths off.
Who Will Step Up For The Men?
Entering the meet there are no Canadian men seeded under the FINA ‘A’ standard in 12 out of 17 events. Swimmers will need to reach this standard in order to qualify individually for Worlds.
Markus Thormeyer, Yuri Kisil, and Mack Darragh are the only three who are under, so the door is open for others to have a big showing. Acevedo is the other who, if he’s on good form, should be able to get back under the time in the 100 back.
- Emily Overholt put on quite the performance at the U SPORTS Championships in February and looks to back on top form. She won bronze at Worlds back in 2015 in the 400 IM.
- Kierra Smith and Rachel Nicol headline the women’s breaststroke events, along with SC World medalist Kelsey Wog and the up and coming Faith Knelson.
- Kayla Sanchez has been red hot recently having set three SCM junior world records in December, and is primed for a big showing here. Her along with Oleksiak, Ruck, and Rebecca Smith (or Alexia Zevnik) should form a very competitive 400 free relay this summer.
- Richard Funk will be aiming to qualify for his fourth consecutive World Championship team after swimming a lifetime best time in the 100 breast (59.89) and winning his first medal (bronze, mixed 400 medley relay) last time out in Budapest.
- Another veteran to watch out for is Katerine Savard, an Olympic medalist who didn’t compete internationally last year after withdrawing from the Commonwealth Games. She’s entered in the 100 and 200 free and the 50 and 100 fly.