Campbell River swimmer Mackenzie Padington had taken the year off school to focus her energies on training for the Olympics. She’s devastated by Team Canada’s decision to not send athletes to the Games this summer, but is in full support of. The Canadian Olympic Committee is lobbying the International Olympics Committee for a postponement. File photo

Campbell River swimmer Mackenzie Padington had taken the year off school to focus her energies on training for the Olympics. She’s devastated by Team Canada’s decision to not send athletes to the Games this summer, but is in full support of. The Canadian Olympic Committee is lobbying the International Olympics Committee for a postponement. File photo

Vancouver Island Olympic hopeful devastated by Team Canada decision, but in full support

Tokyo 2020 would have been swimmer Mackenzie Padington’s first Olympic Games

Competing at the Olympic Games has long been a dream for Campbell River swimmer Mackenzie Padington.

But following Team Canada’s March 22 decision to not participate at the Olympics this summer, she’ll have to wait a little longer.

Padington was due to compete at Swimming Canada’s Olympic Trials in Toronto next week where she hoped to secure her ticket to the Games, but the event was postponed with the sport’s national body saying a decision would happen on or before April 21 about when, where, or if the competition would even take place.

The uncertainty has been weighing on the 21-year-old; the Tokyo Games would be her first Olympics.

“It didn’t come as that much of a shock, but it still hurt,” she said by phone from Victoria, Monday.

In an Instagram post Sunday night, she said she was “devastated” by the news, but was fully in support of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s decision.

The Games have been her goal for a while.

“I think they’re always a goal for younger kids growing up,” she says. “I’ve always wanted to, especially seeing Alec Page, who came from Campbell River make the Olympics and with swimming.”

She would love to follow in Page’s footsteps. At 18, the former Campbell River Killer Whales member competed at the 2012 Games as the youngest member of the Canadian men’s swimming team.

RELATED: Campbell River’s Mackenzie Padington takes three golds and a bronze at National Championships

Padington’s own Olympic dream started to come into reach in 2017 when she made her first senior national team.

She’s a distance specialist, and her best events are all 200-metres or longer. For the Tokyo Games she was targeting four freestyle races: the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1,500m.

The 1,500m freestyle is a new event for female swimmers and Padington has proved she’s one of the best in the country at it.

During last year’s national trials she won gold in the 400m freestyle, 800m freestyle and 1,500m freestyle.

But it’s really hard for swimmers to train without a pool and both Padington and the rest of her team have been unable to swim since March 17, when their pool closed.

“Swimming is a lot different than other sports. If you don’t do it for more than two weeks, you completely lose all your fitness and your feel of the water,” she says. “So it’s not a fact of keeping up my fitness, because I feel like you can do that. It’s just the fact that I need to keep my feel of the water in order to be able to train fast.”

Last week, she was told by her coach to spend time outside and find other ways to remain active. She’s gone for runs and done ab circuits; she’s gone climbing and hiking.

RELATED: Race of her life qualifies Campbell River swimmer for world championships

This week, swimmers have been provided a dryland workout plan to follow.

Before the health crisis and all the unknowns it’s brought to communities across the world, Padington was training almost five hours a day, five days a week.

She would spend Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday doing two swim sessions and a weight session, while Wednesday and Sunday were off.

Now, she’s just doing what she’s able.

“It’s really just trying to get out and do what I can,” she says. “But it’s not nearly as much as I would normally be doing.”

Last spring Padington finished her second year at the University of Minnesota’s Education program, where she was majoring in teaching English as a Second Language. She took this year off to focus on her Olympic dream. In January she announced that she wouldn’t be returning to Minnesota, but instead would continue her schooling and NCAA swimming career at North Carolina State University.

View this post on Instagram

The best hiking partners a girl could ask for 🐶

A post shared by Mackenzie Padington (@mackenzie.padington) on

Since no official decision has been announced, it’s not known how her studies may be affected.

“There’s a lot of things up in the air right now with Swimming Canada and the way things are going to run, especially if the Olympics do happen next year,” she says. “So I’m just going to have to kind of wait and see how the cards get dealt to me.”

For now, she says, she’s staying in Victoria and continuing her dryland training.

As of March 23, the dust from Team Canada’s decision was still settling and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had not responded.

The Olympics are scheduled to start July 24, while the Paralympics are set for Aug. 25.

On March 23, Canadian IOC member Dick Pound told the Canadian Press he believes the Games will be postponed. A decision is expected within four weeks.

“I just think that a lot of other countries are going to kind of follow in the footsteps that we just took,” says Padington. “I think there’s going to be a cascading effect that’s going to happen and I think it will force the hand of the IOC to either cancel or postpone the Olympics.”

The Australian Olympic Committee is encouraging its athletes to train for the Games in the summer of 2021, while Team Canada says the national Olympic committees of Norway, Brazil, Poland and Slovenia are also lobbying for a postponement.

In the meantime, Padington says she’s learning to control what she can.

“I’m starting to realize that I can’t control the uncontrollables right now,” she says. “I can only control what’s in my court.”


@marissatiel
marissa.tiel@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusTokyo 2020 Summer Olympics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for Peter Ludvigson who is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo man wanted, police say he violated terms of his release

Warrant out for 45-year-old Peter Ludvigson

Nanaimo’s Fiddelium fiddle ensemble, seen here at a fiddle workshop with visiting instructors Gordon Stobbe and J.J. Guy this summer, is recording its first album. (Photo courtesy Trish Horrocks)
Nanaimo youth fiddle ensemble Fiddelium recording first album

Fiddlers recording their parts one at a time in observance of COVID-19 safety

Jesse Savidant, 31, is wanted by the RCMP after failing to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December. Police warn Savidant should be considered violent. (Photo Submitted)
Warrant out for man with alleged stolen property offences across Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant did not appear for court date in Nanaimo last month, say RCMP

Emergency crews were called to a three-vehicle crash Monday morning on the old Island Highway close to Rock City Road. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Car, pickup and semi truck crash along the highway in Nanaimo

Incident happened in front of Rock City Plaza on Monday morning

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Emergency crews were called to a three-vehicle crash Monday morning on the old Island Highway close to Rock City Road. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Car, pickup and semi truck crash along the highway in Nanaimo

Incident happened in front of Rock City Plaza on Monday morning

Residents of the Cowichan Valley decorated more than 55 vehicles with anti-racist slogans for a car rally in support of Cowichan Tribes on Saturday, January 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dozens join anti-racism car rally and virtual panel in Cowichan Valley

Provincial ministry and BC Green caucus issue joint statement detailing concerns

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Most Read