By Dan Plouffe
Looking back, it didn’t look to be the best recipe for success, but Nepean-Kanata Barracudas athlete Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson earned a bronze medal in the women’s 200-metre individual medley nonetheless at the world junior swimming championships in Lima, Peru.
It was a very different setting than usual for the Barrhaven resident – an outdoor pool with temperatures around 15 C during Peru’s winter, a sick feeling in her stomach from travel-related illness, not to mention the stress of waiting for her first and only race on the fourth day of the six-day meet that wrapped up Aug. 21.
“I was really nervous because it was building up each day,” Seltenreich-Hodgson recounts. “But by the time my race came, I was really ready to swim.”
The John McCrae Secondary School student who’s headed into Grade 11 didn’t swim her best in the preliminary heat, but still advanced through to the final where she put together a great bronze medal performance with a time of two minutes, 15.62 seconds.
“To be honest, I was kind of in shock,” says Seltenreich-Hodgson, who entered the competition seeded 10th. “I went in really wanting to make a name for myself, and I really wanted a medal, but when it actually comes down to getting it, I didn’t really believe it at first. It was really exciting.”
Seltenreich-Hodgson wasn’t the only local medallist at the event. Canada’s total haul of four gold, five silver and five bronze medals included Greater Ottawa Kingfish swimmer Tabitha Baumann’s second-place result as a member of the Canadian 4×200 freestyle relay team.
“It was so awesome to see them raising the Canadian flag when we had someone on the podium,” notes Seltenreich-Hodgson, whose race came sandwiched between a pair of Canadian gold medal performances. “That was the coolest thing ever.”
Seltenreich-Hodgson, who hadn’t been farther than Oregon for any previous events, got to tour around Lima with her father for a few days after the competition, but was glad to be home after a tiring trip and looked forward to returning to her club with a new piece of hardware.
“The coaches and members are all very excited about Erika’s accomplishments at worlds,” NKB head coach Scott Faithfull says by e-mail. “She is a great girl who has tons of determination.”