Swimming World October 2021 Presents – A Canadian Surge: The Swimmers of Canada’s Future

Swimming World October 2021 - Canadian Surge - Maggie McNeil
A gold in the 100 butterfly for Maggie MacNeil (R), beating out world record holder Sarah Sjotrom (L) [Photo Courtesy: Robert Hanashiro / USA Today Sports]

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A Canadian Surge: The Swimmers of Canada’s Future

By Matthew De George

Swimmers from Canada exceeded expectations at the Tokyo Games. And the Canadian delegation showed that the future is as bright as the present, with prolific young talents on both sides of the competition.

John Atkinson’s message of uncertainty was, in its paradoxical way, consistent.

Swimming Canada’s High Performance Director was unsure what the Tokyo Olympics would bring. As one of the last major swimming nations to return to normal training schedules, the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was significant. A thrice-postponed Olympic Trials, held in late June with a diminished field at close to the last possible minute, didn’t offer much clarity. Atkinson’s comments before departing for Tokyo were rooted in the trust of his athletes, but he stopped short of setting concrete targets, tempering expectations with the reality they faced.

If uncertainty was the correct term before the Olympics began, surprise wasn’t quite the right one by the end of the week at the Tokyo Aquatics Center.

In most every department, Canadian swimmers exceeded expectations at the Tokyo Games, adjusted down for COVID-19 or not. The Canadians left with six medals, all on the women’s side, including a gold for Maggie MacNeil in the 100 meter butterfly. They tallied four fourth-place finishes, all in Canadian-record times, which Atkinson views as tantamount to a medal.

“They just do what they need to do to regroup and refocus,” Atkinson said. “And the resilience they’ve shown over the last 17 months of the pandemic is extraordinary and something I would commend everybody for.”

The iconic shock and elation in MacNeil’s face at seeing the board after the 100 fly, having bested a field that included world record holder Sarah Sjostrom and eventual seven-time medalist Emma McKeon, perfectly encapsulates the Canadians’ Olympics. It was a performance that MacNeil knew she could do, from her dominance in college at the University of Michigan to her 2019 world championship. But after having to abruptly switch training bases during the pandemic, there were still understandable reservations until that final stroke that she would be able to deliver her best at the pivotal moment.

SUCCESS IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY
Every swimmer experienced their moments of adversity before the Games. Penny Oleksiak was out of the water for two extended stretches due to persistent back pain. Kylie Masse had to move cross-province to train at the High Performance Centre in Toronto when other pools were unavailable. Sydney Pickrem’s move to HPC Toronto involved a hasty decamping from her base in College Station, Texas, before the border closed.

Yet with those toils endured, the medals flowed to the Canadian women. Masse—a leader in and out of the pool and, according to Coach Ben Titley, “possibly the greatest human being I’ve ever coached”—briefly held the Olympic record in the 100 backstroke and set national records in both backstroke events on the way to a pair of silver medals (along with a medley relay bronze). Oleksiak delivered a gutsy performance in the 200 free to rally in the final 50 for bronze and set a Canadian record in fourth place in the 100. That training group in Toronto proved to be the physical and emotional core of the team, hastening the camaraderie that most nations struggle to assemble in the few weeks before the Games.

To read more about Team Canada’s Tokyo performance and their prospects for Paris 2024,
Click here to download the full October issue of Swimming World Magazine, available now!



Swimming World October 2021 - David Popovici - New Kid On The Block - COVER
[PHOTO BY GEORGIO SCALIA / DEEPBLUEMEDIA]

 

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FEATURES

010 THE OLYMPIC “QUADRENNIUM:” A LOOK BACK AND A LOOK AHEAD
by David Rieder
Swimming World reflects on the last five years since the last Olympic Games in Rio and ponders the questions that lie ahead during the next three years leading up to Paris 2024.

014 A CANADIAN SURGE
by Matthew De George
Swimmers from Canada exceeded expectations at the Tokyo Games. And the Canadian delegation showed that the future is as bright as the present, with prolific young talents on both sides of the competition.

020 ISHOF FEATURE: AQUATOTS MURDER CASE—THE KATHY TONGAY STORY (Part 1)
by Bruce Wigo
It is doubtful that in the annals of aquatic history, there has ever been an example of abusive parents like the story of “little Kathy Tongay.”

024 EXPECT GREAT THINGS!
by John Lohn
David Popovici just turned 17 years old, but the Romanian sprint freestyler appears poised to follow a path to prominence.

031 NUTRITION: KNOW THYSELF
by Dawn Weatherwax
Knowing your body composition can help you swim fast and stay healthy.

COACHING

029 BASIC DRYLAND TRAINING
by Michael J. Stott
A concentrated, ongoing strength and conditioning regimen provides a quality supplement to in-pool training, helping swimmers become stronger and faster. Coaches Ron and Rich Blanc of Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Southern California share last season’s dryland training schedule that helped his girls’ and boys’ teams become national powers.

030 WEIGHT ROOM COMMON SENSE
by J.R. Rosania

These “Do’s and Dont’s” are courtesy of exercise scientist J.R. Rosania, whose performance enhancement firm Healthplex serves multisport athletes worldwide.

034 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: MAXIMIZING SWIMMING VELOCITY (Part 5): MINIMIZING THE ARM RECOVERY PHASE
by Rod Havriluk
The greatest possible time decreases for additional swimming velocity increases are in the non-propulsive phases (entry and recovery). This article includes strategies to minimize the recovery phase time of all four strokes.

045 Q&A WITH COACHES RON & RICH BLANC
by Michael J. Stott

046 HOW THEY TRAIN MAGGIE McGUIRE & JACK NUGENT
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

033 DRYSIDE TRAINING: BACK TO BASICS (Part 1)
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

044 UP & COMERS: MARYJANE (MJ) NEILSON
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS & SPECIAL SECTIONS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

009 DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT FAMOUS GUYS WHO GOLF?

016 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

036 PREP SCHOOL DIRECTORY`

048 GUTTERTALK

049 PARTING SHOT

 
 

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