OTTAWA – Swimming Canada’s World Championships Trials set the tone for the rest of the 2013 season, says High Performance Director John Atkinson.
“The trials provided a great environment for us to race and make the selections for the world championship and World University Games teams,” he said. “We saw performances stronger than at last year`s trials and now the focus will be to keep improving through the summer.
One of those improved performances came from Ryan Cochrane of Victoria, who clocked 10 seconds faster in the 1,500-m than at the Olympic trials in 2012. He won the silver medal in the event at the London Games.
A total of 34 swimmers qualified for this summer’s FINA World Championships set for July 19 to Aug. 4 in Barcelona. The squad is still being finalized for the World University Games July 8-17 in Kazan, Russia.
“We were right on target on our assessment on how many swimmers would make the teams,’’ said Atkinson. ‘’We have a blend of experienced team members and some newcomers and that`s great to see in a post -Olympic year.”
Exactly half the 2013 team competed last year at the London Olympics. Along with Cochrane, other 2012 Olympic team members punching their ticket for Barcelona were Barbara Jardin and Victoria Poon of Montreal, Sinead Russell of Burlington, Ont., Audrey Lacroix and Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., Samantha Cheverton of Pointe-Claire, Que., Brittany MacLean of Etobicoke, Ont., Savannah King and Tommy Gossland of Vancouver, Blake Worsley, Alexa Komarnycky and Alec Page of Victoria, Charles Francis of Cowansville, Que., Tera Van Beilen of Oakville, Ont., Hilary Caldwell of White Rock, B.C., Martha McCabe of Toronto, and Andrew Ford of Guelph, Ont.
Swimmers such as Jardin, King, MacLean, Russell, Savard, Van Beilen, and Page were all 20 and under last year. Joel Greenshields of Airdrie, Alta., meanwhile, was on the 2008 Olympic team.
Some of the newcomers to the national team include 17-year-old Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson of Ottawa and Will Brothers of Victoria, who became the second fastest Canadian in the men’s 1,500-m freestyle after finishing a close second to Cochrane.