The 2017 Team Canada Trials get underway Thursday as Canada’s best swimmers begin the four-year road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The four-day meet runs through Sunday at the Saanich Commonwealth Place in Victoria. Looking to follow up Canada’s standout performance at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, 401 qualified swimmers will be competing to represent Canada at the FINA World Championships July 14-30 in Budapest.
Preliminary heats begin at 10 a.m. each day, with finals set for 6 p.m. All sessions will we webcast live on CBC Sports at http://www.cbc.ca/sports/
This past December, the national team competed in Windsor, Ont. in the 13th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m). Canadian swimmers continued to impress as they backed up their incredible Rio 2016 Olympics performance with another impressive showing in front of the home country crowd. Canada won eight medals in Windsor, including two gold. With seven of those medals in women’s events, to go along with all six Canadian medals in Rio, the women’s team was named Canadian Press Team of the Year, only the third women’s team in 50 years to receive the honour.
Penny Oleksiak headlines the group of swimmers that will be competing in Victoria. Less than a year removed from her rise to fame brought upon by her performance in Rio, the 16-year-old continues accumulating accolades. Most recently, she was named one of Canada’s most influential women by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport for 2016. Oleksiak’s 2016 accomplishments also include the Lou Marsh Trophy, awarded to Canada’s top athlete of the year, and CP Female Athlete of the Year.
Hilary Caldwell will be competing where she’s most familiar. Caldwell, a member of the High Performance Centre – Victoria, trains at the Saanich Commonwealth Place under Head Coach Ryan Mallette. Last month, Caldwell had a strong showing at the second stop on the Arena Pro Swim Series circuit. She won a gold medal in the 200-m backstroke, the same event in which she earned a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
“It’s always fun to have a swim meet at home.” said Caldwell. “There’s a lot of focus on Canadian swimming after our success in Rio. We just want to carry our momentum into the next four years.”
Olympic medallists Kylie Masse, Taylor Ruck, Sandrine Mainville, Chantal Van Landeghem, Katerine Savard, Kennedy Goss and Michelle Toro (formerly Williams) will also be amongst those competing in Victoria this upcoming weekend. Windsor medallists Kelsey Wog, Alexia Zevnik, Sarah Darcel, Rachel Nicol, Yuri Kisil, Markus Thormeyer and Mirando Jarry will also be in action.