EDMONTON – Richard Funk had a happy homecoming while Emily Overholt celebrated an emotional return to the senior national team Wednesday night at the 2018 Canadian Swimming Trials.
Funk, an Edmonton native who swims for the Toronto Swim Club, won the men’s 100-metre breaststroke in one minute, 1.02 seconds. Overholt, who trains at the High Performance Centre – Vancouver, battled back tears after winning the women’s 400-m individual medley in 4:42.77. Both swimmers clinched a spot on the Canadian team heading to next month’s Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo.
Overholt, who has dealt with injuries the last couple of years, hadn’t qualified for a national team since just missing the podium at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She only returned to racing in recent months for the university season.
“This season I really came back with the goal to be on the national team again,” said the 20-year-old from West Vancouver. “It’s really special. I think this time around it’s really different because of what I’ve been through. It means a lot more to me.
“I’m very emotional, very happy, very thankful for everyone who put up with all the downs and supported me through all the highs. I’m very lucky.”
For Funk, going to the Pan Pacs helps erase some of the frustration of narrowly missing the Rio Olympics.
“I was so pumped to come back here and swim a meet with a more positive attitude,” said the 25-year-old. “My family makes up a whole section right up there. Doing it front of them is always special.”
Funk, who was 15th in the world in a personal best 59.89 at last year’s FINA World Championships in Budapest, was satisfied with his time but said there’s plenty of room for improvement.
“I’m excited to get back and finetune things,” he said. “I know I can be much faster. I just need to get back to work the next couple of weeks.”
More than 400 athletes from 105 clubs are participating in the meet being held at the Kinsmen Sports Centre. Swimming Canada will select and announce its pool teams for next month’s Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo and the Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships in Cairns, Australia.
Besides Canadians, swimmers from France, Peru, Thailand, Singapore, Scotland and the U.S. are also competing.
The Trials, which end Sunday, are being webcast by CBC sports at http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1274889283829.
Results and full meet information will be available at: https://www.swimming.ca/en/events-results/events/2018-canadian-swimming-trials/.
The men’s and women’s 200-m freestyle relay teams were decided, with the top four finishers in each race punching their tickets.
Taylor Ruck, who won eight medals earlier this year at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, showed she isn’t slowing down by winning the women’s 200-m in 1:55.45.
“My expectations weren’t to break any records or go a best time, just to see what I can do,” said the Kelowna, B.C., native who trains under coach Ben Titley at the High Performance Centre – Ontario. “My coach, before the race, said do whatever you have to do to make sure you make the team.”
Kayla Sanchez of HPC–Ontario, was second in 1:57.92. Four-time Olympic medallist Penny Oleksiak of Toronto was third in 1:58.18. Rebecca Smith of HPC-Ontario, who is from nearby Red Deer, finished fourth in 1:59.35 and received a loud ovation from friends and family in the crowd.
Markus Thormeyer of the HPC-Vancouver won the men’s race in 1:47.66 ahead of Calgary’s Alex Pratt who was second in 1:48.97. Javier Acevedo of Scarborough was third in 1:49.02 while Jeremy Bagshaw of HPC-Victoria was fourth in 1:49.13.
The 18-year-old Pratt surprised himself by earning his first spot on a senior national team.
“I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” he said. “I touched the wall and didn’t even know what place I was. I was absolutely blown away.”
In other events:
- Mackenzie Padington of Campbell River, B.C., won the women’s 800-m freestyle in 8:39.91
- Angela Marina of the Brantford Aquatic Club won the women’s Para multi-class 200-m freestyle 2:20.29
- Nick Bennett of Qualicum Beach, B.C., won the men’s Para multi-class 200-m freestyle in 2:02.82.
- Kierra Smith of Kelowna, B.C., won the women’s 100-m breaststroke in 1:07.57.
- Abi Tripp of Kingston, Ont., won the women’s Para multi-class 100-m breaststroke, setting a Canadian SB7 record of 1:32.51. In the same event Justine Morrier of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., set a Canadian record of 1:24.04 in the SB14 class.
- Maxime Rousselle of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu won the men’s Para multi-class 100-m breaststroke in 1:12.10. During the morning preliminaries Jonathan Dieleman of Telkwa, B.C., swam a Canadian record of 1:52.11 in the SB4 class. That shaved 12 seconds off his previous record.
- Tristan Cote of the Etobicoke Swim Club won the men’s 400-IM in 4:21.42.