As more-and-more of the top Canadian swimmers head south of the border for college, Swimming Canada won one battle against the mighty lure of the NCAA yesterday, as Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson has decided to stay home and swim for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds next season.
Seltenreich-Hodgson made at least two trips stateside, visiting both Indiana and Georgia. Not a surprise, as those are two of the most popular destinations for Canadian women on the American college circuit. Among the Hoosiers hailing from Canada are Brenna MacLean, Brooklyn Snodgrass, and Bronwyn Pasloski. Georgia just got in on this game last year, when they grabbed two big freshman Brittany MacLean and Chantal van Landeghem.
Instead, Seltenreich-Hodgson will head west from her native Ottawa, where she swims for the Greater Ottawa Kingfish, to Vancouver and swim for UBC.
She had a phenomenal summer in long course, breaking-out in events ranging from the 50 free to the 400 IM. That included a 26.31 and a 57.00 in the 50 and 100 freestyles, and a 1:03.8 in the 100 back.
Her greatest promise, however, is as a future Olympian in the IM’s (she already qualified for Junior National teams that were sent to Jr. Pan Pacs and the Mare Nostrum series). Her bests in those races long course are 2:12.93 and 4:43.80.
She is the third-fastest Canadian in history in the 200 IM, ranks 30th in the world this year, and seems to only be getting better. That’s what really stood out about her season: she just kept getting faster. She was a 2:14.3 at Trials in March, then a 2:13.9 at the French stop of the Mare Nostrum in June, then a full second better at Jr. Pan Pacs in August in 2:12.93. She actually won that race ahead of top American swimmers like Celina Li (Cal) and Kaitlyn Jones (Virginia).
All of that led to almost three seconds in drops from the 2:15.6 that she went in 2011 at Junior Worlds.
The Thunderbirds are stacked with many of Canada’s top young swimmers, including Coleman Allen and Luke Peddie on the men’s side, both of whom will swim at the World Short Course Championshisp in December; plus Savannah King, Tera van Beilen, and Heather MacLean on the women’s side, who were all Olympians. They are also the team of the three youngest sisters in the Pierse family.
Their close connection with the Vancouver Dolphins program is what allows them to attract so much top talent. The top club program in that country will be thrilled to get their hands on a swimmer who has already shown so much potential.