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CAMO finished atop overall standings at the 2024 Speedo Canadian Eastern Swimming Championships

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By Rita Mingo

Claude St-Jean may have been a bit shorthanded but the extensive quality of his swim club still shone brightly.

CAMO (Club Aquatique de Montréal) finished atop the overall standings at the 2024 Speedo Canadian Eastern swimming championships at the Université Laval, collecting 2,902.5 points.

The race for second was incredibly close, with Pointe-Claire Swim Club amassing 2,469 points and CNQ (Club de natation région de Québec) a shade behind with 2,456. The CAMO men were tops in their division, while the Pointe-Claire women were best in theirs.

“I think the meet was great,” acknowledged St-Jean. “This is what we expected. But like before every meet, I was scared we’d get caught. But the kids delivered; they swam really well. I’m really happy because we are six weeks from the trials and some of the boys really put the bar up and did some very good times and I’m happy with it.”

“It says a lot about the talent on our team that we came out on top of the ranking despite having three, four of our best swimmers in Europe right now, so they weren’t here to help us make more points.”

Among his key contributors, St-Jean pointed to 18-year-old Antoine Sauvé’, a freestyle specialist who garnered the most points in a single event.

“It’s the first time he went an individual race under 50 seconds, 49.5 (in the 100-m free) and I’m really happy about it,” noted St-Jean. “His 200 was 1.50 and he wasn’t fully rested so I think the 200 can be even better. I think my distance junior guys like Simon Fonseca and Édouard Duffy did a really good job in the freestyle events.”

Jordi Vilchez of the Barrie Trojan Swim Club was the top male competitor while Katerine Savard of CNQ was the top female swimmer.

She has returned to her roots in Quebec City after 10 years in Montreal.

“My coach and I saw it as a training opportunity,” she said of these championships. “I’m happy with how I swam. I think there are good things in every single race I did this weekend and I have met my own expectations. My main goal coming here was to be fearless, which is something that had been missing in the last few years. I still have a lot of work to do, but I’m ready to do it and I’m on the right track.”

“I have been swimming for a long time and I’m incredibly lucky to still be competitive,” continued Savard, who turns 31 in May. “I love what I’m doing and the next generation is motivating me. I see a younger version of myself in some of my teammates.”

Savard hopes this tournament is a stepping stone to bigger things.

“We’re leaving for a training camp in Florida tomorrow and there are things I did this weekend that I want to work on while we’re there,” she noted. “I put a lot of pressure on myself for trials, because I still love and care a lot about swimming.”

Among the top competitors at the meet was Charles Giammichele out of the Golden Horseshoe Aquatic Club in Hamilton. Giammichele set the 100m breaststroke S87 record on Friday morning, then again that evening. The record he broke was his own, which he set in December.

“I was expecting to swim fast during the meet,” Giammichele admitted. “I was feeling great and training had been going well. Breaststroke has always been my best stroke, but lately I’ve been working more on my IM and I think it’s helping me in everything. My goal here is to see what I still need to work on to get ready for trials in May.”

A pair of CNQ athletes, Alexander Elliot and Aurelie Rivard, were tops in the Para division.

A total of 105 clubs and 640 athletes took part in the four-day competition.