Where Were Recent Canadian Olympians Seeded Heading Into Trials?

With the recent announcement that the 2021 Canadian Olympic Trials will be run as an invitational meet, with only 20 swimmers and two timed final heats per event, it begs the question: does this close the door on someone who had the potential to come out of nowhere and make push for an Olympic berth?

While there have been several athletes seeded outside of the top-three, and even top-five, to qualify for the Canadian team at the last two Trials, no one has come from anywhere near the 20th seed to punch their ticket to the Games.

However, one factor that does need to be considered was that several athletes didn’t have the opportunity to train and race optimally throughout 2020, meaning swimmers essentially have had a two-year window to improve since last posting long course times.

Below, find the entire 2012 and 2016 Canadian Olympic teams, along with their seeds in each respective race coming into the meet.

Thanks to fellow Canuck Ben Dornan for providing the tables.

2012 Canadian Olympic Team

Men

Athlete Event Seed Going Into Trials
Brent Hayden 50 m freestyle 1
100 m freestyle 1
Blake Worsley 200 m freestyle 6
Ryan Cochrane 400 m freestyle 1
1500 m freestyle 1
Charles Francis 100 m backstroke 1
Tobias Oriwol 200 m backstroke 1
Scott Dickens 100 m breaststroke 1
200 m breaststroke 2
Joe Bartoch 100 m butterfly 1
David Sharpe 200 m butterfly 6
Andrew Ford 200 m individual medley 1
Alec Page 400 m individual medley 3
Thomas Gossland
4 × 100 m freestyle relay
9
Brent Hayden 1
Richard Hortness 3
Colin Russell 2
Tobias Oriwol
4 × 200 m freestyle relay
4
Alec Page Didn’t swim it at trials
Colin Russell 2
Blake Worsley 6
Joe Bartoch
4 × 100 m medley relay
1
Scott Dickens 1
Charles Francis 1
Brent Hayden 1

Individually, both Blake Worsley and David Sharpe pulled off victories coming from the sixth seed, though Sharpe’s win in the final was particularly memorable due to the fact that he swimming in the outside lane after qualifying eighth in prelims. Sharpe swam 1.42 seconds faster in the final than his best time coming into the meet, while Worsley added a second in a relatively weak field.

Tommy Gossland jumped up from ninth to make the 400 free relay.

Women

Athlete Event Seed Going Into Trials
Victoria Poon 50 m freestyle 2
Julia Wilkinson 100 m freestyle 2
Samantha Cheverton 200 m freestyle 2
Barbara Jardin 200 m freestyle 1
Savannah King 400 m freestyle 5
Brittany MacLean 400 m freestyle 4
Savannah King 800 m freestyle 3
Alexa Komarnycky 800 m freestyle 2
Sinead Russell 100 m backstroke 1
Julia Wilkinson 100 m backstroke 1
Hilary Caldwell 200 m backstroke 2
Sinead Russell 200 m backstroke 1
Jillian Tyler 100 m breaststroke 1
Tera van Beilen 100 m breaststroke 5
Martha McCabe 200 m breaststroke 2
Tera van Beilen 200 m breaststroke 3
Katerine Savard 100 m butterfly 1
Audrey Lacroix 200 m butterfly 1
Katerine Savard 200 m butterfly 2
Erica Morningstar 200 m individual medley 1
Stephanie Horner 400 m individual medley 2
Samantha Cheverton
4 × 100 m freestyle relay
10
Heather MacLean 11
Victoria Poon 1
Julia Wilkinson 2
Samantha Cheverton
4 × 200 m freestyle relay
2
Barbara Jardin 1
Brittany MacLean 3
Amanda Reason 8
Victoria Poon
4 × 100 m medley relay
Didn’t swim it at trials
Sinead Russell 1
Katerine Savard 1
Jillian Tyler 1
Tera van Beilen 5
Julia Wilkinson 1

Both Savannah King and Tera van Beilen moved up from the fifth seed to earn individual berths, while Samantha Cheverton and Heather MacLean did so from the double digits in the 400 free relay. King’s swim was notably a personal best by three seconds, one she never approached again, while van Beilen also made a significant drop to move up three spots (and would come close to matching it at the Olympics, earning her a semi-final swim-off with Alia Atkinson).

2016 Canadian Olympic Team

Men

Athlete Event Seed Going Into Trials
Santo Condorelli 50 m freestyle 1
Yuri Kisil 50 m freestyle 4
Santo Condorelli 100 m freestyle 1
Yuri Kisil 100 m freestyle 2
Ryan Cochrane 400 m freestyle 1
1500 m freestyle 1
Javier Acevedo 100 m backstroke 2
Jason Block 100 m breaststroke 2
Ashton Baumann 200 m breaststroke 5
Santo Condorelli 100 m butterfly 1
Santo Condorelli
4 × 100 m freestyle relay
1
Yuri Kisil 2
Markus Thormeyer 6
Evan van Moerkerke 4
Javier Acevedo
4 × 100 m medley relay
2
Jason Block 2
Mackenzie Darragh 6
Yuri Kisil 2

The biggest climber for the men’s team in 2016 was Ashton Baumann, son of two-time Olympic gold medalist Alex Baumann, who seemingly came out of nowhere to dominate the 200 breast at Trials. Baumann dropped a 2:10.69 to win the event by two and a half seconds, and was close to three seconds under his previous best time. Despite the massive time drops, he still only moved up from fifth to first.

Yuri Kisil dropped three-tenths to go from fourth to first in the 50 free, which is a pretty significant amount for the distance.

Women

Athlete Event Seed Going Into Trials
Chantal Van Landeghem 50 m freestyle 1
Michelle Williams 50 m freestyle 2
Penny Oleksiak 100 m freestyle 1
Chantal Van Landeghem 100 m freestyle 4
Brittany MacLean 200 m freestyle 10
Katerine Savard 200 m freestyle 3
Brittany MacLean 400 m freestyle 3
Emily Overholt 400 m freestyle 1
Brittany MacLean 800 m freestyle 1
Dominique Bouchard 100 m backstroke 2
Kylie Masse 100 m backstroke 1
Dominique Bouchard 200 m backstroke 2
Hilary Caldwell 200 m backstroke 1
Rachel Nicol 100 m breaststroke 1
Kierra Smith 100 m breaststroke 2
Martha McCabe 200 m breaststroke 2
Kierra Smith 200 m breaststroke 1
Penny Oleksiak 100 m butterfly 3
Noemie Thomas 100 m butterfly 2
Audrey Lacroix 200 m butterfly 1
Sydney Pickrem 200 m individual medley 1
Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson 200 m individual medley 3
Emily Overholt 400 m individual medley 1
Sydney Pickrem 400 m individual medley 2
Sandrine Mainville
4 × 100 m freestyle relay
2
Penny Oleksiak 5
Chantal Van Landeghem 1
Taylor Ruck 3
Michelle Williams[a] 2
Brittany MacLean
4 × 200 m freestyle relay
10
Penny Oleksiak 7
Katerine Savard 3
Taylor Ruck 2
Kennedy Goss[a] 4
Emily Overholt[a] 1
Kylie Masse
4 × 100 m medley relay
1
Rachel Nicol 1
Penny Oleksiak 3
Taylor Ruck 3
Noemie Thomas 2
Chantal van Landeghem 1

The only swimmer to qualify for the team individually after being seeded 10th or worse is Brittany MacLean, who entered the 2016 Trials ranked 10th in the women’s 200 free.

This one is an anomaly more than anything, as MacLean had an injury-plagued 2015 year and hardly raced at all. She was also coming off a standout NCAA Championship performance with Georgia right before the 2016 Trials, which included winning the 200 free individually and anchoring the Bulldogs to victory with the field’s fastest split in the 800 free relay.

MacLean went on to win the event in a time of 1:56.94, breaking the super-suited national record of 1:56.97 held by Genevieve Saumur.

Penny Oleksiak also moved up from seventh to qualify for the Games in this event, but opted to drop it with a busy Olympic schedule already in place. Oleksiak’s 2016 performance is an example of someone who made a big Trials drop to make the team, but still she wasn’t close to being seeded in the 20th-range.

Bonus: 2019 Canadian World Championship Team

Men

Athlete Event Seed Going Into Trials
Josiah Binnema 100 m butterfly 1
Tristan Cote 400 m individual medley 2
Mackenzie Darragh 200 m butterfly 1
Richard Funk 50 m breaststroke 3
100 m breaststroke 1
Yuri Kisil 50 m freestyle 1
100 m freestyle 2
Gabe Mastromatteo 200 m breaststroke 2
Alexander Pratt 200 m freestyle 2
Cole Pratt 200 m backstroke 4
200 m individual medley 6
Markus Thormeyer 100 m freestyle 1
100 m backstroke 1
200 m backstroke 1
Markus Thormeyer
4 × 100 m freestyle relay
1
Yuri Kisil 2
William Pisani 4
Carson Olafson 7
Markus Thormeyer
4 × 200 m freestyle relay
1
Alexander Pratt 2
Jeremy Bagshaw 3
Carson Olafson 4
Markus Thormeyer
4 × 100 m medley relay
1
Richard Funk 1
Joshua Liendo 7
Yuri Kisil 2

Women

Athlete Event Seed Going Into Trials
Maggie MacNeil 50 m butterfly 3
100 m butterfly 3
Kylie Masse 100 m backstroke 1
200 m backstroke 1
Emma O’Croinin 400 m freestyle 5
1500 m freestyle 2
Penny Oleksiak 50 m butterfly 1
100 m freestyle 3
200 m freestyle 5
Emily Overholt 400 m individual medley 3
Mackenzie Padington 400 m freestyle 2
800 m freestyle 1
Sydney Pickrem 200 m breaststroke 3
200 m individual medley 1
400 m individual medley 4
Taylor Ruck 100 m freestyle 1
200 m freestyle 1
200 m backstroke 2
Kayla Sanchez 50 m freestyle 2
Kierra Smith 100 m breaststroke 1
Rebecca Smith 100 m butterfly 2
Kelsey Wog 200 m breaststroke 2
Kayla Sanchez
4 × 100 m freestyle relay
2
Taylor Ruck 1
Penny Oleksiak 3
Maggie MacNeil 9
Rebecca Smith* 5
Kayla Sanchez
4 × 200 m freestyle relay
2
Taylor Ruck 1
Emily Overholt 3
Penny Oleksiak 5
Rebecca Smith* 4
Emma O’Croinin* 13
Kylie Masse
4 × 100 m medley relay
1
Sydney Pickrem 1
Maggie MacNeil 3
Penny Oleksiak 3
Kierra Smith* 1
Rebecca Smith* 2
Taylor Ruck* 1

2019’s risers were highlighted by youngsters Cole Pratt and Emma O’Croinin, who ranked sixth and fifth respectively coming in to qualify individually. O’Croinin’s 13th seed in the 200 free before qualifying for the relay is particularly notable.

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Mrs. Swimming
4 months ago

I very much appreciate this analysis but as pointed out by some commenters on the last Canadian trials article (and something I myself hadn’t thought about) this trials is fundamentally different because few if any of the swimmers in the mix for the team had the opportunity to do a rested long course meet since July/August 2019. This means Canada is effectively only inviting swimmers who rank in the top 20 as of nineteen months prior to the trials.

So to make this analysis more interesting / relevant to the current trials situation, could you look at where athletes were ranked in Canada as of 19 months prior to each of these trials (E.g. as of August 2010 for… Read more »

Basil Karlo
Reply to  Mrs. Swimming
4 months ago

That would make for some interesting statistics particularly amongst some of the anomalies that you see on the 2019 World’s team, the young up and comers: Liendo, Mastromatteo, O’Cronin and Pratt. If you added Knox in on the list (FINA A 200IM done at 2019 World JR) you’d be looking at their results from the summer of 2017 (Canada Games for all of them) where they were all 14/15 years-old. Knox, Liendo, Mastromatteo, O’Cronin and Pratt were in the top-20 inside some of their events (but not all).

Prettykitten
Reply to  Basil Karlo
4 months ago

I looked it up and if this happened for the 2016 trials Penny would have been 20th in 100 free if you had skipped the 2015 season and were going off of the summer of 2014

BobbyJones
Reply to  Mrs. Swimming
4 months ago

Well said!

Ytho
4 months ago

Offtopic, but isnt the sub 20 speedo stream supposed to start now? I cant see it

torchbearer
4 months ago

Thanks for all this work. I imagine there would be a similar finding in any nations Olympic Trials…..bolters in swimming are very rare, dramatic improvements don’t just suddenly happen.
Doing this for the Olympics themselves would be interesting (the rankings of the medalists coming into the Games).There is always a possibility if COVID doesn’t improve they may limit entrants to say 16 in each event.

M d e
Reply to  torchbearer
4 months ago

Not sudden though it’s been limited competition for like 18 months by trials.

Younger female swimmers especially can improve from great age groupers to world class in 18 months.

BobbyJones
Reply to  torchbearer
4 months ago

far from sudden…. July 2019 to April 2021 is enormous amounts of training!!!!!!!!!!!!!! sudden??

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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