Canadian Olympic Medalist Kayla Sanchez Switches to Represent Philippines

SANCHEZ Kayla TOR Toronto Titans (TOR) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 5 day 1 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Kayla Sanchez; Photo Courtesy: Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Canadian Olympic Medalist Kayla Sanchez Switches to Represent Philippines

Canadian Olympic medalist Kayla Sanchez is exploring a nationality switch to represent the Philippines, it was announced Thursday.

Sanchez has been granted her release from Swimming Canada. She was born in Singapore to Filipino parents but was born and raised in Scarborough, Ontario, since she was two years old. She has trained at Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centre in Ontario since after the 2016 Rio Olympics, alongside the core of the nation’s elite program.

“I’ve always been really proud of my Filipino heritage,” Sanchez said in a Swimming Canada press release. “Aside from how much I’ve grown and how good everything has been in Canada, I needed to make this really difficult decision for myself and my family to take this opportunity to represent the Philippines. I want to help inspire people that are like me to swim and get into the sport.”

Sanchez has become a vital relay cog that will be difficult to replace for Canada’s burgeoning program. She first represented Canada at the 2017 World Junior Championships, part of three gold-medal winning relays. She has won relay silver at the Commonwealth Games, bronze at the Pan Pacific Championships and gold at the short-course World Championships.

At the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, she led off Canada’s silver-winning 400 free relay in finals and swam in prelims with the medley relay that would win bronze. At the recently completed World Championships in Budapest, Sanchez won silver on the women’s 400 free and mixed 400 medley relay to go with bronze in the women’s 800 free and 400 medley relays.

“Kayla has been a great team member, centre member and swimmer for Canada and we will miss her,” High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson said. “She brought such a positive energy to our teams, as well as great swimming. Our loss will be the Philippines’ gain, but we support her in this transition as it is the direction she wishes to follow for personal and family reasons. We sincerely wish her nothing but the best in her future swimming.”

Sanchez had been slated to represent Canada at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Already, Canada will be without Penny Oleksiak and Taylor Ruck, who pulled out of that meet to focus on rest.


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Sanchez did express her gratitude for Canada for its role in her development as a swimmer.

“I am so thankful and appreciative of Canada. I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today without the support and how much I grew and learned,” she said. “It’s just a point in my life where it’s time for a change. I am stepping into a new point in my swim career where I can start to focus on myself and at the same time I’m hoping to help people in the Philippines.”

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Emma Lauder
Emma Lauder
1 year ago

Was she was born in Singapore and raised Ontario or was she born and raised in Ontario?

1 year ago

How much do we as Canadian want to invest in athletes that take advantage of our generosity and then choose to represent another country. Either they choose to be Canadian and a part of our system, or to be a foreigner – can they really get it both ways?