Rebecca Smith headed into the Canadian Swimming World and PanAm Trials last week in Toronto with a healthy but balanced sense of self assurance.
When the last ripple faded from the pool, the Red Deer Catalina Swim Club athlete had earned a spot on the 2015 Canadian junior team that will compete in the FINA World Junior Championships in Singapore in August.
“I didn’t really know what to expect since there were lots of great athletes there,” Smith, who advanced to the finals in five events — the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, 50m backstroke and 100m butterfly — said Tuesday.
“But I went in there with good confidence since I’ve trained so hard with my coach (Mandi Smith). She’s really helped me out with my training and my teammates have also helped me out. I felt pretty confident with my times going in.”
Smith, 15, who captured four medals — a gold, two silver and a bronze — in the Canadian Age Group Championships last summer in Winnipeg and broke a Canadian age group record in the Ontario Junior International in December, set provincial records in her three freestyle events at the World and PanAm Trials.
Also competing in the Trials were two of her Catalina teammates — Madalyn Smith 17, and 14-year-old Josh Young.
“This was an extremely exciting event to be a part of. We got to see our best swimmers in the country compete to represent Canada and it was so cool to be part of the mix,” said Catalina head coach Mandi Smith. “We have a strong history of swimmers who have gone on from Red Deer to other programs and been very successful. This group of kids is the first group to be internationally competitive while training out of our little pool.”
Coach Smith will accompany Rebecca Smith to Sydney, Australia this week as the national team will compete in that country’s week-long age group championships starting Monday.
“I haven’t competed in an international event before so I’m really excited just to get the experience and know what it’s like so I can learn lots,” said the Red Deer swimmer.