Young swimmer looks forward to busy summer

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By Jim Morris

VANCOUVER – It’s going to be a busy summer for Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson.

The Ottawa teenager is moving to Vancouver to attend the University of British Columbia, she will be getting to know her new teammates at the UBC Dolphins Swim Club, and she hopes to squeeze in a trip to Barcelona for the FINA World Championships.

“There is going to be a lot of change this summer,” the 17-year-old said in a telephone interview from her home.

Seltenreich-Hodgson swims the 400- and 200-metre individual medley, plus the 200- and 100-m breaststroke. She will compete at the World Championships Trials April 3-6 in Victoria with the goal of earning a spot on the world championship team in the IM.

“We have a really competitive breaststroke (group) and I don’t think I can make it,” she said. “I would say my better chance is the 200 IM. There is a possibility for the 400 IM too.”

Seltenreich-Hodgson showed her potential in January at the New South Wales State Age Championships in Australia. She won gold in the 100-m breaststroke, 200-m and 400-m IM, and silver in the 200-m breaststroke and 100-m freestyle. She also helped Canada win gold in each relay.

Making the world championship team would be another step toward her goal of swimming at the 2016 Olympic Games.

“I’m really excited,” Seltenreich-Hodgson confessed. “I’m probably very nervous at the same time.

“I have a relatively good chance of making worlds. It’s not like I am a shoo-in or anything. I still have to perform as best as I can to make it. There’s a lot of adrenaline in that.”

When Seltenreich-Hodgson was selecting which university to attend, the quality of swim team was as important to her as the school’s academic standards.

“When I was looking for universities I was mostly focusing on the swim team,” she said. “You can get a good education in a lot of places but the swim team . . . was the one thing I needed to fit the best to what I needed.

“I know UBC is an amazing school. I felt like I fit in really well with the swim team. That was really important to me too. You need to have a great relationship with your teammates otherwise you’re not going to enjoy your time. I’m also happy about the fact they don’t get that much snow there.”

While with the Dolphins Seltenreich-Hodgson will work with coaches Tom Johnson and Jozsef Nagy.

Seltenreich-Hodgson began swimming when she was just six months old. Since then she has combined hard work with determination. She heads to the World Championships Trials focused on making her first senior national team.

“I haven’t really taken no for an answer,” she said. “I haven’t thought about the alternatives.

“I’m just focusing on what I want to accomplish.”

FINA World Championships will be held July 19 to Aug. 4.

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