Oliver Dawson’s 100 Breast Drop Kicks Off Landmark Olympic Trials For Grande Prairie Piranhas


You wouldn’t think the small town of Grande Prairie, located in Northern Alberta where the water is frozen much of the year, would be a swimming hotbed.

But that’s what it’s turned into under Alex Dawson, the head coach and Director of Swimming of the Grande Prairie Piranhas, a club that has evolved in recent years and qualified seven swimmers to compete at this week’s Canadian Olympic Trials in Toronto.

That comes after the club had zero swimmers qualify to compete at the 2016 Trials and just one, rising Indiana University senior Catherine Minic, in 2021.

Grande Prairie Piranhas 2024 Olympic Trials Qualifiers

During the opening session of the 2024 Trials on Monday, Alex’s son, Oliver Dawson, continued his impressive progression as an elite breaststroker, moving his way up the historical Canadian rankings.

Dawson became the second-fastest 16-year-old Canadian of all-time in the 100 breast, clocking 1:01.52 to dismantle his previous best of 1:03.17 and join Gabe Mastromatteo (1:01.24) as the second Canadian to break 1:02 before their 17th birthday.

All-Time Canadian Rankings, Boys’ 15-16 100 Breaststroke (LCM)

  1. Gabe Mastromatteo, 1:01.24 – 2019
  2. Oliver Dawson, 1:01.52 – 2024
  3. Morgan Knabe, 1:02.81 – 1997
  4. Alexander Milanovich, 1:02.82 – 2018
  5. James Guest / Ryder McGinnis, 1:02.97 – 2013 / 2014

Dawson also broke the Alberta Provincial Record for 16-year-old boys, lowering the 1:02.97 mark established by Ryder McGinnis in 2014.

Dawson heads into tonight’s ‘A’ final as the #5 seed, sitting just 55 one-hundredths shy of top qualifier Finlay Knox (1:00.97).

Historically, Dawson has been better in the 200 breast, coming in as the #6 seed with his best time of 2:17.13 set less than two months ago. That swim in February came after he placed 13th in the event at the 2023 World Junior Championships (2:17.70).

Given his 1.65-second drop in the 100, it stands to reason that Dawson could challenge the fastest time ever for 15-16 Canadians in the 200 breast, which sits at 2:15.53 from Mastromatteo in 2018.

The official Canadian Age Group Records are in the 15-17 category, with that record standing at 2:14.30 from Mastromatteo in 2019. Mastromatteo also holds the 100 breast 15-17 NAG mark at 1:00.69.

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2 months ago

Alex Dawson been building a great program up there for years

2 months ago

Live Results link isn’t working for me. Anyone else?

Swim fan
Reply to  BigBoiJohnson
2 months ago


Reply to  BigBoiJohnson
2 months ago

Nope, they’ve been down for a few hours.

2 months ago

Big Kudos!

2 months ago

And Jordan Greber who is now swimming at UCSC and an ASU commit was also at GPP recently, right?

Great to see smaller clubs producing like this!

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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