AUSTIN, Tex. – Fresh from breaking five national age group records* last month – all at one meet – Evan White of Oakville, Ont., is among 28 Canadians scheduled to compete at the second stop on the U.S. Grand Prix swimming circuit this Friday to Sunday in Austin, Tex.
White has emerged as one of the most talented 17-year-old Canadian swimmers in many years.
At that meet, White broke age group national marks in the 100-metre butterfly, 200-m butterfly and 200-m breaststroke along with contributing to two relay marks. That augurs well for the individual medley specialist heading into 2014.
“I definitely feel I have a shot at making the senior national team this year,” said White, who is tuning up for the 2014 Canadian Swimming Trials set for April 2-5 in Victoria. Those trials will select teams for Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships.
“That’s my big goal.”
Sean Baker, who coaches White at the Oakville Aquatic Club, says he isn’t surprised at his pupil’s success at such a young age. He credits hard work and maturity.
“He is one of the most reliable and dependable swimmers I’ve coached,” said Baker. “He puts his nose to the grindstone every day. It’s been a three-year process to build his confidence in different areas and putting him in position to win. He’s skyrocketed since making his first junior team in 2011.”
This weekend’s meet in Austin will be a great opportunity to face a powerful international field.
“The meet will be a good indication for our Canadian coaches and athletes to see how they are going in their preparation and build up to the trials following a solid block of training,” said Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson.
Being in the midst of some hard training, results aren’t the priority but still Baker feels White can make some noise.
“The more he can be surrounded by great swimmers, the more he’ll want to excel in that environment,” said Baker. “We’re looking for solid performances this weekend, with good splits. Being an IM swimmer, he’ll swim a lot of events and gain more confidence in all the strokes.”
White is one of many Canadians expected at the meet. Others include 2013 national team members Victoria Poon, Sandrine Mainville and Audrey Lacroix from Montreal, Will Brothers, Eric Hedlin, Hilary Caldwell and Alec Page from Victoria, as well as Noemie Thomas, Luke Peddie, Coleman Allen, Tera Van Beilen and Savannah King from Vancouver.
Martha McCabe of Toronto was scheduled to compete but has withdrawn due to a small stress fracture on her clavicle. She is expected to make a full recovery and compete at Canadian Swim Trials in April but will be limited in training for several weeks. McCabe is staying in Toronto to continue her rehab program before joining her National Swim Centre teammates for training camp in Florida next week on a modified training schedule.
*Pending ratification by Swimming Canada