Local swimmers make splash at Olympic/Paralympic trials

TORONTO — Halfway through the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Trials in Toronto, some positive results have the Red Deer Catalina Swim Club encouraged.

TORONTO — Halfway through the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Trials in Toronto, some positive results have the Red Deer Catalina Swim Club encouraged.

Six members of the swim club made the trip to Toronto for the competition and leading the way is Tammy Cunnington, a multi-medalist at Paralympic events.

Though the 50 m freestyle is her best event, the 50 m butterfly is her favourite.

“It’s powerful and fun,” said Cunnington.

“I’m really happy with my times, I’ve done what I believe I needed to do to show well and perform well. I’ve set two Canadian records and personal bests.”

In the first three days she won gold in the 50 m breaststroke, won the 150 m individual medley and won a bronze in the 50 m freestyle. In that same time she set and then broke her own Canadian record in the breaststroke and set the Canadian record in the freestyle.

“It’s a lot of hours in the water, a lot of hours with food and then a lot of hours resting to do it all again,” said Cunnington. “When the time is on the clock, it’s worth every blood, sweat at tear.”

Also in competition are Rebecca Smith, Josh Young, Elizabeth Moore, Kristen Trepanier and Daniel Stayer.

Rebecca Smith’s best showing was in the 200 m freestyle, where she finished eighth on Thursday and set an Alberta record.

Coach Mandi Smith, who has been working with the athletes almost non-stop leading up to the event.

“From our environment we don’t have a lot of the amenities some of the other teams have,” said Mandi Smith. “They don’t let that bother them at all. They work hard at home and at every opportunity they work to get better and train.

“They’re proving to be a part of the best in the country and that’s pretty cool.”

Smith said they have about 10 to 12 workouts a week, and eight or nine of those are in the water.

“The men are a lot older than the women at this meet and for Josh to place 38th at 15-years-old is pretty cool,” said Mandi Smith

Rebecca still has to compete in the 50 m and 100 m freestyle, Cunnington has the 50 m backstroke and butterfly (for which she currently holds the world record), Moore has the 200 m breaststroke, Trepanier has the 200 m butterfly and Stayer has the 50m freestyle.

“We’re hoping to see Tammy break the world record,” said Mandi Smith. “We weren’t able to see her in Bismarck, North Dakota, but we’re hoping to see that.”

The swimmers and their coach find out on Sunday who makes the trip down to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. Also chosen from this group of swimmers are who will represent Canada at the 2016 Junior Pan Pacific Swim Championships in August, taking place in Maui, Hawaii.

“We’re hoping to have a few names read out on Sunday night,” said Mandi Smith.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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