May 22, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Swimming | “I didn’t understand anything,” Katherine Saward agreed

Swimming |  "I didn't understand anything," Katherine Saward agreed

(Toronto) To everyone’s surprise, Catherine Saward qualified for the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday night of the opening of the Canadian Swimming Trials in Toronto.

Simon Droin

Simon Droin

Catherine Saward had little faith in her chances of qualifying for the Olympics in the 100-meter butterfly, and she did not even tell her father that she was swimming on Saturday night.

“I’m sure he didn’t know I was going to the games yet!” She said, her hair still half wet, an hour after the swim.

It was still sunny outside the Pan Am Sports Center in Toronto. The swimmer dropped the mask, but mainly her foggy eyes we noticed.

“I didn’t understand anything,” she repeatedly said, still shocked at the unexpected unexpected choice for her old favorite show. “I am just shocked. Of all the scenes I planned in my head, not always 100 Fly Not there. ”

The day before, Saward was planning to pull out of the final, which was submitted until Wednesday in Toronto for fear that his poor start would mortgage the rest of his Canadian Olympic trials.

She feared the nightmare of 2016 would be revived. At the same place, she experienced the greatest illusion of her career, finishing third in an event that ranked fifth in the world in the entire Olympic cycle. She bounced back in the 200 freestyle two days after the relay in Rio.

“You already did,” his mother told him earlier this week. “Mom, I don’t know how I did it,” her daughter replied. I need the mental strength in Tabarout to be able to do what I did in 2016. I was too scared to restore it. ”

The 100m butterfly is, therefore, a discipline stored on the top shelf, at the back of her wardrobe.

Photo by Hugo-Sebastian Albert, Press

Swimming Catherine Saward

« Enjoy, His coach Claude Saint-Jean informed of the turquoise t-shirt reserved for these first day trials. She took it literally.

A promise

Saward initially gained confidence in the preliminaries and was surprised to achieve his best time in four years (58 seconds 13) without really being forced. Even without the audience and with the cheers recorded for the background noise, her explosion occurred, with her little leg on the block before the opening.

“It’s great to get that little adrenaline back. The excitement we haven’t had in two years. Wow, I loved it.”

With Maggie McNeill, the world champion in discipline, there is no longer a question of overcoming her swimming final.

On the way to the call room, Saward sent the message to Gregory Arkhurst, who accompanied him: “I do not want him to bother me these 100 meters. No matter what happens tonight, I don’t like to cry. ”

Early in the morning, she started softly, finishing third behind the untouchable McNeil and her real target Alberton Rebecca Smith. She had forgotten everything about her race, but it was not her underwater promise: “It is not true that I will lose two tenths of it. ”

As expected, McNeill, a 21-year-old pre-qualified Ontario, topped the 19 in 56 seconds, some dust from her national record. With Smith half a second behind, Saward pulled it back and finished second at seven hundred. His stopwatch: 57 seconds 86, six hundred times better than the standard A, which gives automatic access to Tokyo.

After touching the wall, the giant noticed her time on the screen, realizing that she was approaching her third Olympics, and Saward raised his palms toward the sky, staring at himself in this position.

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By hugging her, McNeill said she was happy. Before becoming an international swimming star, the athlete from London came with her to train for a few weeks at the CAMO Club in Montreal.

“She took the reins of 100 butterflies and she is doing it well,” Saward said. I no longer dream about it. I know she has a check mark on top. Everything she has achieved is unbelievable. ”

Saward climbed a few stairs to reach Saint-Jean, confined to stands like his companions. Leaning on the railing, the swimmer took her head in disbelief. His Train box Admired her. Tears flowed. “This time, she’s crying for the right reasons,” St. Jean said.

Back to faith

In Toronto, Saward is aiming more for the 200 freestyle, where she feels she has a chance in Sunday’s relay, and the 200 butterfly is far from Audrey Lacroix’s retirement.

Surprised, Mr. Coach? “Yes,” he admitted before adding: “I know, at the age of 28, with her experience, if she feels good … she has a lot of taste. Racer, To display. It offered. ”

In the morning, Saint-Jean asked her to leave herself on an outing and put on rubber for the time of her return. The end is carbon copy with some extra energy.

“I found it [Smith] Analyzed by St. Jean. She did a little as Catherine had done before. Eventually, in the last 10 meters, the arms no longer raise. There, the Cat Trust. She could leave more slowly. When she reaches 50 yards, she can focus on her 15 yards underwater. ”

Talking to Calgary coach Saward, he said putting his favorite race aside might have done him good. She agreed.

I think it helped that I stopped focusing on the small details of the 100 meters.

Catherine Saward

In Rio, the bronze medal in the relay did not eliminate the penalty of 100 meters butterfly. This time Saward is nowhere else.

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“This pain, I lived for years. There, I live something else and I live separately. This was one of the biggest surprises that happened to me. I take. For the truth, I am departing from a distance. Since 2016, I have not been physically and mentally in shape. This year I worked very hard. I don’t really, but really don’t have the same mindset as in 2016. ”

Before leaving with the encouragement of whistles and Canadian coaches – she showed her muscles and made them laugh – Saward warned her not to sit down [ses] Laurels ”200m free Sunday.

His greatest wish? Qualify with her teammate Mary-Sophie Harvey, world champion Kylie Massey was unfortunately fourth in the 100m backstroke, finishing 70 seconds, third in history, third.

“Mary deserves it too. We both train hard. I’d love to do that with her.”

Success, but there is no standard for “Ali”

Photo by Frank Gunn, Canadian Press

Alison Akman

Alison Akman of Point-Claire led the 400m freestyle from start to finish, but the best time of her life (4:10:92) was not enough to give her a direct ticket to her first Olympic Games in Tokyo. She will try to recover this Sunday in the 200m freestyle.

This Sunday

200m freestyle, 100m. Breaststroke: Entrance into the Penny Olexiac scene who likes to ignore the 100m butterfly. Her coach, Ben Tittle, described her as an Olympic vice-champion of discipline as a natural crawler, as problems behind her last year prevented her from functioning properly. Kick Butterfly and most of all, she had to leave her schedule behind the Tokyo Games, where she could stand in line at two personal distances and three relays. Olexiak has already finished sixth in the 200 freestyle in 2019 at the Guangzhou World.