VICTORIA – Eric Hedlin may have had a swim to remember in the 1500-metre freestyle on Sunday night, but he was the last one in the venue to know it.
Part way through the longest race at the U SPORTS Swimming Championships in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Hedlin—a distance swimmer by trade—lost track of his touches and assumed he had fallen off pace.
“I was quite disoriented during the race so I was really surprised when I touched the wall and saw that time,” said Hedlin. “I miscounted and actually thought I had another 50 metres to swim but I was really happy to see my time.”
That time was 14:42.99, and it replaced a 25-year-old U SPORTS record set by Turlough O’Hare in 1992 (14:52.32). Not only did Hedlin break O’Hare’s record, he did it by almost 10 seconds to win his second gold medal of the championship after he won the 400-metre freestyle on Saturday.
“He lapped everyone in the pool except for one guy, so it was a pretty good swim considering he hasn’t really been training in the pool that much,” said head coach Peter Viszolyi.
Teammate Jon McKay, winner of last year’s 1500-metre race, also faced challenges during the race, losing his goggles for a moment and pausing to get them back on. The fourth-year Vike still managed to finish fifth in his marquee race with a time of 15:22.42.
“It’s not something that happens very often but it happened this time,” said Viszolyi.
Hedlin was also part of the men’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay team that finished ninth with a time of 3:44.22. Buzz Mallender, Aidan Thirkell and Brett Zollen rounded out the four-man team. Mallender also swam a strong 200-metre backstroke, finishing 15th in the country with a time of 2:01.43.
Mock, Gervais and Snowden-Richardson also swam in the 800-metre final. Mock finished 10th with a time of 8:52.99, while Gervais and Snowden-Richardson finished 11th (8:55.75) and 17th (9:02.86), respectively, in the first final of the day.
Canadian Trials, which kick off in April, will be the next big event for the program.
DAY 3 TOP RESULTS
1500m freestyle: Eric Hedlin – 1st (14:42.99), Jon McKay – 5th (15:22.42)
200m backstroke: Buzz Mallender – 15th (2:01.43)
4x100m freestyle: Eric Hedlin, Buzz Mallender, Aidan Thirkell and Brett Zollen – 9th (2:01.43)
4x100m freestyle: Victoria Mock, Kaitlin Gervais, Taylor Snowden-Richardson and Kara Wilson – 14th (4:25.46)
800m freestyle: Kaitlin Gervais – 10th (8:52.99), Victoria Mock – 11th (8:55.75), Taylor Snowden-Richardson – 17th (9:02.86)