Michelle Williams is one of the four High Performance Centre – Ontario athletes coached by Ben Titley who qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics and will be competing as part of the 4×100 freestyle relay team.
Williams finished fourth behind her teammates Penny Oleksiak, Chantal Van Landeghem, and Sandrine Mainville in order to grab that relay qualification.
At the touch Williams was a 54.45 to clock in just shy of her personal best time of 54.21 from last years’ Canadian team trials.
Collectively the team has a very strong chance at earning a medal in Rio. By stacking up their best flat-start times, they already go a 3:35.20 which is more then a second faster than the Canadian record time of 3:36.44. That time would have placed them fourth at the World Championships, moving them up one placement.
- Penny Oleksiak: 53.31
- Chantal Van Landeghem: 53.83
- Sandrine Mainville: 53.85
- Michelle Williams: 54.21
If you take into account the fact that they’d be faster with a relay start, they’re definitely in medal contention. Last summer, the American women took home the bronze with a 3:34.61.
If you take just 0.4 seconds off three of the Canadian swimmers’ times (a flying start is usually roughly 0.6 seconds faster) the Canadian team puts up a 3:34.00.
With a little bit more speed and some more improvement off the flying starts it’s likely they could get into the 3:33-high range come Rio which would make them one of the best teams worldwide.
To see coach Titley’s comments on the relay watch the video below: