VICTORIA – Hilary Caldwell is ready to make another big impact in 2014 and the first step towards that goal is at the Canadian Swimming Trials Wednesday through Saturday in Victoria. The trials are the selection meet for the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships this summer.
There may not be a world championships or Olympic Games in 2014 but Caldwell knows she can’t afford to rest on her laurels.
Last year the 23-year-old from White Rock, B.C., won the bronze medal at the FINA World Championships in the 200-m backstroke. It was the first Canadian medal in the event since 1978.
This year she wants to show that success was no fluke.
“My preparations for the trials are going well,” said Caldwell. “I was a little sick a few weeks ago and I was stressing about that but now everything is back in order and I’m ready to swim fast. I’ve put in all the work for the trials and now I’m just fine tuning everything.”
Caldwell says she gained a lot of experience from her success last season.
“I don’t feel as panicked as far as making the team but I know it’s not going to be easy with the depth we have in Canada,” she said. “But times so far bode very well for the rest of the year and I’m looking for some really solid performances.”
Caldwell won her world championship medal in the 200-m backstroke and this year she would like to make her mark as well in the 100-m backstroke. This year she won gold in both the 100-m backstroke and 200-m backstroke at the U.S. Grand Prix in Orlando.
“One of the improvements I want see this year is my 100-m backstroke be faster,” said Caldwell. “I would love to break the minute barrier. In the 200 I have to keep my times fast because my toughest competition comes from Commonwealth or Pan Pac countries.”
At the world championships, Missy Franklin of the U.S., dominated the event but Caldwell was only 0.14 seconds behind Belinda Hocking of Australia who she could face at both events this year.
No doubt, a step higher on the podium would cap a successful 2014 for Caldwell.