VICTORIA – Senior teams for the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships have been the focus at Canadian Swimming Trials, but the meet will also outline the international season for the country’s top juniors.
The four-day trials wrap up today in Victoria. For the juniors, it is primarily a selection meet for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships, set for Aug.
In addition, four male and four female spots in the 15-16 age group are up for grabs for the Youth Olympic Games set for Aug. 17-22 in Nanjing, China. Swimmers who qualify for both the Youth Olympics and Junior Pan Pacs will be allowed to compete at both events.
The 1,500-m freestyle races at trials will take on an added significance for younger swimmers. For junior aged swimmers 17-18, two men and two women will be selected to compete at a qualifying meet in the Cayman Islands in June for the 10-kilometre open water event at the Junior Pan Pacifics.
Two 15-16 age group swimmers for men and women will also head to the Caymans for a five-kilometre qualifier for the World Junior Open Water Championships, set for Aug. 28-30 in Eilat, Israel.
The top-three at the trials intending to go to the Cayman Islands will receive a $1,000 bursary towards their travel costs.
As was the case at last year’s trials, a small team will also be selected for the Mare Nostrum Tour in Europe this June.
‘’The international community is building more and more events for the junior and youth-aged swimmers,’’ said Swimming Canada National Junior Coach Ken McKinnon. ‘’This year we expect to have more and more juniors graduating to the senior team, certainly the potential is there and this is exactly the goal of our program.’’
On the flip side, McKinnon said Canada had a young team at the last Junior Pan Pacs two years ago and hopes to have a few returnees for 2014.
‘’These types of competitions just make our young swimmers tougher competitors,’’ said McKinnon. ‘’They get to understand the process and business at hand. It’s a great way to learn how to stay focused through all challenges and having to perform on that given day.’’