GEELONG, Australia – The holiday season may be a period for rest and relaxation for many, but for swimmers dreaming to one day compete at the Olympic Games it’s business as usual.
That’s the case for Canada’s 15-member national junior team. The squad of 17- and 18-year-olds, is into its second week of training camp which is taking them to various locations in Australia.
The camp actually started on Dec. 27 in Vancouver with two days at the University of British Columbia. The highlights were seminars on biomechanics as well as strength and conditioning. That set the tone for the next part of the adventure.
The team flew to Sydney, transferred to Melbourne, before travelling by bus 75 kilometres west to Geelong, the second largest city in the State of Victoria, for the main training camp at the Kardinia Aquatic Centre.
“We have travelled with junior teams in the past to Australia for similar camps and it is really beneficial,” said National Junior Coach Ken McKinnon. “They learn about so many level of being a high performance athlete.”
The Canadian swimmers at the camp are Haley Black of Prince George, B.C., Frederique Cigna of Montreal, Kennedy Goss of Toronto, Paige Kremer of St. Albert, Alta., Lili Margitai of Edmonton, Sophie Marois of St-Eustache, Que., Emily Overholt of West Vancouver and Jacomie Strydom of Edmonton for the women.
For the men: Gamal Assaad of Oakville, Ont., Liam Desjarlais of Prevost, Que., Mitchel Ferraro of Uxbridge, Ont., Yvon Gallant of Montreal, Mirando Jarry of Montreal, Anthony Lyons of Toronto and Oliver Straszynski of Toronto.
The trip concludes with the Victoria State Open Championships in Melbourne from Jan. 17-19. The team returns home on January 21.
“It’s going to be a test for our athletes to compete after a period of hard training,” said McKinnon. “It will be important for them to stand up and face that challenge head on.”