Brooklyn Douthwright had some fuel left after winning a pair of national championships earlier this month, but the 16-year-old from Riverview, N.B., native expects to be empty her tank at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships Tuesday through Sunday in Budapest, Hungary.
Douthwright won the 100 and 200-metre freestyle titles at the Canadian Swimming Championships in Winnipeg despite not giving a maximum effort.
“Because the world juniors is so close, I couldn’t give everything I had,” Douthwright said. “I was able to gain a lot of confidence because I know that I have more to give and that’s what I want to bring to the world juniors.”
Douthwright, who will swim the 100 free and some relays at world juniors, won the 200 free in a personal best time of 2:00.05, breaking the New Brunswick senior women’s record. She entered the final as the top seed.
“My goal was to get as close to two minutes flat as I could. I knew I could go faster after prelims and getting a chance to race these girls in a really close race pushed me harder.”
Douthwright followed that up with a gold-medal performance in the 100 free in a time of 56.12 seconds.
“I was happy with the way things went at nationals and I’m looking forward to world (juniors),”
Douthwright said. “Getting to represent my country is very special.
“I hope to get some best times and learn from the experience. It’s my first time at the world juniors and I know it will be an opportunity to learn a lot from my coaches, teammates and other swimmers.”
Douthwright skipped going to the Canadian Junior Championships in Calgary to continue training with coach Mel Melanson with the Codiac Vikings in Moncton, as well as with coach Don Burton at the Ontario Swimming Academy.
National Development Coach Ken McKinnon is Canada’s team leader for the championships. He said the small, but talented Canadian team anticipates a very fast competition in Hungary.
“Our men’s team is the strongest team we have ever fielded,” McKinnon said.
Four members of the team – Josh Liendo, Gabe Mastromatteo, Cole Pratt and Emma O’Croinin – recently returned from the senior FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. O’Croinin came away with a medal in the women’s 4×200-m freestyle relay, while Liendo helped the men’s medley relay qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Canada also had athletes double up on worlds and world juniors in 2017, when Penny Oleksiak helped all five relays win gold, joined by Kayla Sanchez and Rebecca Smith on the women’s freestyle relays. Halifax native Jade Hannah of the High Performance Centre – Victoria was also a member of that team, earning gold in the 50-m backstroke and women’s medley relay, and bronze in the 100 back.
Pratt, a 17-year-old Calgary native who competes out of the Cascade Swim Club, is anticipating some podium finishes after he gained confidence at the world championships.
“It was a good learning experience,” Pratt said. “I went from going to the world championships not knowing what to do to coming out of it learning a lot. I will use this experience to help me at world juniors.”