VANCOUVER – Just in case you haven’t noticed her yet, Noemie Thomas is ready to introduce herself to Canada.
The 18-year-old butterfly specialist hopes her name will be heard often this summer as two nationally televised meets will shine the spotlight on Canadian athletes. CBC is set to broadcast Commonwealth Games swimming from Glasgow, Scotland, July 24 to 29.
To be on those teams, Thomas needs to continue her strong performances from the past two seasons at the Canadian Swimming Trials Wednesday through Saturday in Victoria.
“I’ve heard about the Commonwealth Games all my life and for me it is a priority to be on that team,” said Thomas. “It’s an Olympic style event with all the different sports, a great opportunity to publicize swimming and I’m excited about possibly getting that Canadian gear.”
Last season, Thomas emerged as a swimmer on the fast track to stardom, capped by a seventh place finish in the women’s 100-m butterfly at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona.
At the world championships, Thomas was just two spots behind fellow fly girl Katerine Savard which also provides Canada a solid 1-2 punch in the event.
Now with her name firmly established in international swimming circles, Thomas is confident she is going to reach another level.
“I don’t feel any more pressure than usual despite two good seasons,” said the Richmond, B.C. resident, who trains at the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Vancouver.
“Every year has been an experience for me and I feel more and more calm now. I have a lot of confidence in the training I’ve done throughout the years. I know the preparation is going to show at the end of the day.”
And there’s been no lack of preparation for Thomas this year at the national centre under coach Tom Johnson. She’s been here, there and everywhere.
“This year has been pretty great and I have been pushed to my limits,” she said. “We just came back from a two and half week training camp in Hawaii. We did some pretty good training there. We did a lot of work on kicking endurance, which has helped my 200 fly as well. The coaches had a fitness camp this year as well in which we swam lots of metres to make sure our levels are where they should be at and that helped a lot.
“I feel significantly more fit than last year.”
The 100-m fly will continue to be her primary event for 2014.
“The 200 is there for me to support my 100 butterfly,” she said. “Anytime I can get my 200 fly or freestyle better that will help me in my 100 fly. It’s important to have that range.”
Thomas says all her sporting experiences from the time she was a youth have played a role in her development as a high performance athlete. Even lessons learned as a ballerina, which she practiced from age three to 12, are prevalent.
“Ballet helped with flexibility, discipline and pushing yourself harder,” said Thomas, who started swimming at seven and competed for the first time at age 12. “My ballet teachers taught me what hard work is and the importance of body awareness.”
Thomas hopes that body is on the podium plenty of times this season.