Explosive start to Olympic season for Quebec’s Katerine Savard

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Martin Richard

QUEBEC CITY – In 2010-11, Katerine Savard of Quebec City showed she was one of the brightest rising stars in Canadian swimming. So far for 2011-12, the 18-year-old Savard is raising the bar for the others to follow in pursuit for a spot on the Canadian Olympic team.

Just last week at the Canada Cup competition in Etobicoke, Savard took gold in the three butterfly races, all in meet record time, including a Canadian record in the 100-metre event. She clocked 57.80 seconds breaking her previous national mark of 57.97 set at the world championship swimming trials last April in Victoria.

”I was surprised with the record,” said Savard. ”But I’ve done a lot of work on endurance for the 200 fly so that has really helped me in the shorter distances.’

The record didn’t surprise her coach Marc-André Pelletier. Just a week earlier she had shown she was on early-season fire with fast times at a provincial meet.

”She clocked a 58.4 in the 100 butterfly at the Quebec Cup and that was pretty impressive after a hard period of training,” said Pelletier who has coached Savard for five years at the Club de natation CSQ. ”She has put in a lot of work in the weight room this year so she is much stronger and I think she also benefited from a rest period after the world championships which capped a really busy year last season.”

After reaching two finals at the Commonwealth Games in India, Savard was one of Canada’s revelations at the world championships in Shanghai, missing the cut for the 100 butterfly final and 200-metre semifinal both by one spot. She is nominated for the top female international athlete award for Quebec City area to be held next week.

”The Commonwealth and worlds were great learning experiences,” said Savard. ”To be at the same venue as these great athletes you get a first hand look at what motivates them and the kind of work you need to put in to be there at the top with them.”

A second year CEGEP student in natural sciences, Savard will continue to focus primarily on training leading up to the Olympic trials set for late March in Montreal.

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