HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
For the first time in three years, Swimming Canada will send its International Development Team to a major competition, and that contingent will include five swimmers and one coach from three different Ottawa clubs.
Following the six-day Canadian swim trials last week in Victoria, Julie Brousseau of the Nepean Kanata Barracudas, and Ashley McMillan, Regan Rathwell and Danika Ethier, who represent the Greater Ottawa Kingfish, were named to Canada’s 36-swimmer squad for the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships Aug. 24-27 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Scott Faithfull, the head coach and performance elite coach with the Barracudas, was selected as one of six national team coaches.
Olivier Risk of Ravens of Carleton Swimming was one of eight swimmers chosen to compete for Canada at the FINA World Junior Open-Water Championships Sept. 1-4 in Seychelles.
While the main focus of the Swimming Canada trials was to determine the 32-athlete national team for the FINA World Championships June 18 to July 3 in Budapest, Hungary, the competition also recognized a junior (18-and-under) champion in each event. Many of the junior champions were determined in the open senior A finals, which featured the top eight from the preliminary races.
The trials also determined Canada’s 31-swimmer national team for the World Paralympic Swimming Championships June 12-18 in Madeira, Portugal. Three-time Paralympian Camille Bérubé of Natation Gatineau was the only Ottawa and area swimmer placed on Canada’s team for the worlds.
Brousseau swam in seven events (200- and 400-metre individual medleys, 100- and 200-metre breaststroke and 100-, 200-, 400-metre freestyle) and set personal-best times in all seven races (2:16.14, 4:50.83, 1:12.49, 2:34.07, 56.42, 2:00.93 and 4:19.27). She also qualified for four senior A finals, placing sixth in the 200-metre individual medley, and eighth in the 400-metre individual medley, 200-metre breaststroke and 400-metre freestyle.
If you were to rank her times against the other juniors, who were born in 2004 or later, Brousseau, who was born in 2006, was first in the 200-metre breaststroke, second in the 200-metre individual medley, fifth in the 400-metre individual medley and sixth in the 400-metre freestyle.
Racing against world-class backstroke swimmer Kylie Masse over all three distances, the 2004-born Rathwell placed fourth in the senior A 50 metres in 28.63, fifth over 100 metres in 1:01.15 and seventh over 200 metres in 2:13.66. She also was fourth in the 50-metre breaststroke in 32.05. Rathwell set personal-best times in the 50-metre backstroke and 50-metre breaststroke.
Her times allowed her to be the fastest swimmer among the juniors in the 50- and 100-metre backstrokes and the 50-metre breaststroke and second best in the 200-metre backstroke. Rathwell, who has been training in Toronto at the Canadian National Performance Training Centre since the fall, will attend the University of Tennessee in 2022-23.
The 2004-born McMillan, who recently joined GO from KISU Swim Club in Penticton, B.C., and will attend the University of Southern California in August, also qualified for four senior A finals. She finished fourth in the women’s 200-metre individual medley in 2:13.02, missing the bronze medal by 0.99 seconds, had a pair of sevenths in the 100-metre backstroke in 1:02.10 and the 100-metre butterfly in 1:00.57, and was eighth in the 200-metre backstroke in 2:15.48.
She swam best-ever times in the 200-metre backstroke in 2:14.63 (preliminary heat), and the 50-metre freestyle, where she was fourth in the C (junior) final in 26.41.
McMillan was the national junior winner in the 200-metre individual medley, second in the 100-metre backstroke, and third in the 100-metre butterfly and 200-metre backstroke as well as seventh in the 50-metre freestyle.
Ethier, also born in 2004, was the second junior and 17th overall in the 100-metre breaststroke in 1:11.35 and the fifth junior and 13th overall in the senior 50-metre breaststroke in a personal-best 32.89.
Risk, an endurance swimmer, had his best result in the men’s 1,500-metre freestyle, placing 21st overall, sixth as a junior and third among athletes born in 2005 and 2006. He was timed in 16:18.72. He clocked a personal-best 8:34.34 to finish 31st in the 800-metre freestyle and was 15th as a junior. He was the 13th junior in both the 400-metre freestyle in 4:10.15 and 400-metre individual medley in 4:47.04.
Ottawa Swim Club’s Alexandre Perreault had the best reaction time off the blocks for the 50-metre butterfly sprint and won the national senior A trials race in 24.35. He wasn’t named to Canada’s world championship team because the 50-metre butterfly isn’t on the championship schedule. Clubmate Gabriel Tejada was fifth in 24.86 and only 0.02 away from the bronze medal.
Perreault finished second in the preliminary heats to Tokyo Olympian Joshua Liendo (23.72 to 24.70), but Liendo elected not to race the final. Perreault also was eighth in the 100-metre butterfly in 55.09.
Bérubé qualified for Canada’s world para championship team by placing third in the women’s 200-metre individual medley in 3:08.32 and fourth in the 100-metre breaststroke in 1:45.65 and the 100-metre backstroke in 1:29.59.
Carleton Place Water Dragons’ Bailey Andison, who swam in the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics, was fifth in the women’s 200-metre individual medley in 2:13.17 and 400-metre individual medley in 4:44.56. Andison did, however, lower her personal-best time twice in the 200-metre freestyle to 2:03.07 in the preliminary heats and again in the B final to 2:01.91, where she placed second and was 10th overall.
Meanwhile, Breckin Gormley’s multiple-race experience at the swimming trials included winning a bursary from the Victor Davis Memorial Fund. The award, which is named after the four-time Olympic breaststroke medallist (one gold, three silver) from the 1980s, is designed to assist young Canadian swimmers continue their training, education and pursuit of excellence at the international level.
Gormley, who will attend the University of Kentucky in 2022-23, set personal-best times in the 200-metre butterfly (2:19.00), 100-metre backstroke (1:05.77) and the 50-metre butterfly (28.61). The Barracudas swimmer was fourth among juniors in the 200-metre butterfly and fifth in the 100-metre butterfly in 1:02.05.
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 49 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @martincleary.
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