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Open water swimmers named to Pan Pacs team

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GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands – Stephanie Horner and Hau-Li Fan added their names to Canada’s roster for this summer’s Pan Pacific Swimming Championships with their performances Monday at the UANA Open Water Swimmming Championships.

Horner won Monday’s 10-km race to earn the second female spot on the team. She will join Mackenzie Padington of Campbell River, B.C., who qualified previously as the fastest 800-m freestyle swimmer from the selection window.

“I’m so excited to be Tokyo bound this summer. It’s always an honour to represent Canada,” said Horner, a three-time Olympian – twice in the pool, once in open water. “I love to race and I just want to keep getting better. This morning’s race went well. I came in with a plan and executed it. There is so much to learn from every open water race. I am always trying to learn in order to improve my ranking.”

On the men’s side, Victoria’s Eric Hedlin, who had previously qualified as the fastest 1500-m swimmer, was the winner, followed by Vancouver’s Fan, who earned the second spot on the team.

“It was a good race, I did what I had to do to make the team,” said Fan, who was nearly 10 seconds behind Hedlin, but held off Victoria’s Jon McKay by just over a second. “There were a few technical aspects that need improvement but overall it was a solid race. I would have liked to be more competitive but I’m still relatively new to this sport and I will gain this knowledge with more experience.”

The four athletes are the first named to Team Canada for the Pan Pacific Championships, which take place Aug. 9-14 in Tokyo. The rest of the team will be selected at the Canadian Swimming Trials in Edmonton July 18-22.

“I’m pleased the selection for the Pan Pacs went very smoothly down here in the Cayman Islands,” said Swimming Canada Distance/Open Water Coach Mark Perry. “The hard work now starts for those selected to make sure that they are in tiptop shape in Japan this summer.”