Nanaimo swimmers got to dive into the pool and race Canada’s best swimmers.
Tayden De Pol and Camryn Stannard of the Nanaimo Riptides competed at the Canadian Swimming Trials in Toronto in April.
The trials were to select Team Canada for the world championships, and so Canadian Olympians were there; for example, the 14-year-old Stannard had Olympic gold medallist Penny Oleksiak in her field in a butterfly event.
“It helps with confidence, for sure,” said Scott Flood, coach of the Riptides. “It’s their first time being competitive at a senior national level, so it really helps mentally to come back and be able to swim at a regional and provincial level. It’s a necessary step for their development.”
De Pol made a final in the 50-metre backstroke, which Flood said was an outstanding achievement for a 16-year-old against Canada’s elite. De Pol also had a 10th-place finish in the 100m backstroke. Stannard was ninth in the 400m freestyle.
Flood said De Pol has intensified his workout schedule and now regularly trains in Victoria, too, at the national training centre there.
“He’s committed and he really wants to make a push in the sport,” Flood said.
He said Stannard is working through the process and seeing the challenges of being a younger swimmer at that level.
“But she’s building confidence and belief that she can compete with these girls and sometimes it’s just going and competing against them that helps give her that realization that she can,” Flood said.
Stannard was selected to the Canadian youth relay camp and De Pol made the Canadian junior stroke training camp.
The two were also at Swimming Canada’s Western Canadian Championships in Edmonton last month and fared well there, too. De Pol placed second in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke and fourth in the 100m fly. Stannard was fourth in the 200m freestyle and fifth in the 100m free. Two other Riptides swimmers also went to Westerns – Jakob Brager, who placed fifth in the 200m backstroke, and Devinn Moore.