By Jim Morris
VANCOUVER – Talk with Alec Page and you get the impression you are speaking with a 19-year-old who is going on 29.
Page is experienced enough to understand the importance of the upcoming World Championships Trials in Victoria, but also possesses the youthful resilience to put making the team in perspective.
“If I don’t make the team the world isn’t going to end or my career won’t be over right there,” said the Cortes Island, B.C.
At 18, Page was the youngest Canadian male swimmer to qualify for last summer’s London Olympic Games. He was 23rd in the 400-metre individual medley and was a member of the 4×200-m freestyle relay team that finished 14th.
“Some people have said that coming off the Olympics is kind of hard because you feel like you maybe have a bit more to lose if you don’t make the (World Aquatics Championships) team,” Page explained. “My mental preparation going into the meet is, I should approach it like the Olympics where I had nothing to lose.”
Page is entered in six events at the April 3-6 World Championships Trials, being held at Saanich Commonwealth Place. He will swim the 200 free, 200 fly, 400 IM, 100 fly, 400 free and 200 IM. He also would like to earn a spot on the 4×200-m relay team.
“I’m looking to make the team in as many (events) as I can,” he said. “It’s not really worth it if you’re not planning on making it.”
“The 400 IM is still the focus. It would be cool if I made the team in everything but I don’t know if that will happen.”
Holding the trials in the pool he trains in does give Page a home-field advantage. He also isn’t intimidated by the veterans who are also looking to earn a spot on the team going to the World Aquatics Championships July 19 to Aug. 4 in Barcelona, Spain.
“I know everybody I am racing here,” Page said. “I wouldn’t say I’m confident, I wouldn’t say I’m worried.
“It’s just kind of a neutral feeling. You never know what someone is going to do until the day that you race them. You just have to be in the moment when you race them.”
The London Olympics was Page’s first major international meet and proved a valuable learning experience.
“The Olympics had always been a dream of mine,” he said. “When I got there and raced I was a little overwhelmed with the crowd.
“I wasn’t particularly pleased with how I did. I wasn’t upset but I knew I could have done better. Coming into these international meets I have not been before . . . I just want to keep moving toward being top three or one of the best in the world.”
In order to gain more experience Page travelled to Japan and trained with Kosuke Hagino, the Olympic bronze medallist in the 400 IM.
“It’s a much different training environment,” he said. “I learned a lot.
“Racing everyone gave me a really good idea about what to expect against the world. What I need is to get used to racing those guys.”