Olivia Anderson Shines at Canadian Age Group Championships

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Photo Courtesy: David Farr

Olivia Anderson and Richie Stokes, two members of Etobicoke Swimming Club, were impressive on Day 1 of the 2015 Canadian Age Group Championships at the Laval University Sports and Physical Education Pavilion (PEPS) aquatics centre.

Anderson, a 16-year-old whose headway this season was set back by a sprained foot sustained shortly before April’s Canadian Team Trials, continued her buildup for next month’s junior world championships by winning the girls 16-18 1,500-metre freestyle in 16:44.50 seconds. She was 10 seconds ahead of Victoria’s Molly Gowans.

“The competitive side would have liked to have been a little bit faster but overall I can’t complain,” Anderson said. “My year has been up and down, to say the least. I hurt myself early and that was tough mentally. Right before Trials, I sprained my foot and I think I lost confidence going into Trials. I had best times there, but my goal was to make the Junior Worlds team and I just missed it. That forced me to be honest with myself. I’ve ended up since getting the call that I was on the Junior Worlds team. I’ve had good training since and I’m getting to the point where I want to be. I’m definitely looking at my result from Age Group and senior nationals [the Aug. 6-9 Canadian Swimming Championships] as a stepping stone. I’m excited.”

Alexander Katelnikoff, 14, of Calgary also had a sterling 1,500-m result. The Cascade Swim Club representative won the boys 14-15 race in 16:13.36. That would have ranked well in the 16-18 race , which Etobicoke’s Din Selmanovic won in 15:50.84..

Stokes, 14, and 15-year-old Tai Long Singh also conveyed their potential with 200-m backstroke victories earlier in the evening. Stokes won the age-14 boys race in 2:06.90. That was the exact time he projected, as he outpaced second-place Dylan Byers of the Greater Ottawa Kingfish by more than four seconds. Stokes’ time was also faster than that of the age-15 and -16 boys winner, Singh (2:07.03) and Kamloops Classic Swimming Club’s Ethan Phillips (2.08.99).

Stokes had a 29.99-second opening split and never looked back.

“I arrived in the pool in the zone,” Stokes said. “Before the race I wanted to go 2:06.9, that was the exact time I wanted to go. I had all my splits spread out. I was in a very confident mindset. I aced the dive, got into the water exactly how I wanted to go. And after that it was just memory, and everything I needed to was something I had done before.

“This summer I’ve been up and down,” Stokes added. “I’ve had trouble taking time off in some of my swims, I couldn’t get under 2:08. I feel really great about how this one went today.”

Singh, like a lot of the younger teens assembled at the Age Group Championships, is also taking on the Canadian Swimming Championships next week in Pointe-Claire, Que. The Point Roberts, Wash., resident, who trains with the Winskill Dolphins, was happy with the early burst he displayed.

“My objective was to focus on my up speed [the first 100 metres],” said Singh, who set a national age-group record in 100-m backstroke last year. “I’ll take it. I accomplished what I needed to do.”

Thursday night’s schedule includes finals in 100-m freestyle and 400-m individual medley.

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2015 Canadian Age Group Championships, Day 1 – Results