Often when swimmers have a breakout swim, the first reaction is to think:
“Will it last?”
“Was it just this once?”
“Should we remember their name?”
Such was much of the thinking when the Canadian women started to make waves on the international stage, starting at the Rio Olympics. Over the years since, the women have proved their speed was no fluke. A group of ladies have emerged who are consistently finding themselves at the on top the international podium.
There is no sign of letting up, as demonstrated by their performance at last week’s Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo. Seven of the eight medals won by Canada in the pool at the Championships were won by women.
In addition to their speed, the women are also showcasing astonishing versatility, stretching across the sprint to middle distance events and medaling in almost every stroke.
Before the event even begun, the Para women notched five golds in their own Pan Pacific Championships. The Canadians were on top of the podium in the with gold and new world record in the 100m freestyle and gold in the 400m freestyle by Aurelie Rivard, gold in the 100m breaststroke by Justine Morrier, gold in the 100m breaststroke SB8 by Katarina Roxon, and gold and a Canadian record in the 200m freestyle by Angela Marina.
Last week, Kylie Masse, who last year broke the 100m backstroke world record, broke the Pan Pac’s record in the prelims before winning the event and being named Female Swimmer of the Meet.
Masse admitted she was adjusting to the new environment of being in the spotlight.
“I was facing some pressures, a lot of different media opportunities, which is awesome and all great to do and I love doing it, but it was more things added to my plate, “ she told Swim Canada.
She didn’t seem to falter much in at the Pan Pacs. After her gold in the 100m backstroke, she was fourth in the 200m backstroke, and helped the 4x100m individual medley relay to a fourth in a very fast final.
Taylor Ruck again found herself on the podium a record-setting number of times. Earlier this year, she tied for the record number of medals for any swimmer at the Commonwealth Games with eight. Last week, she became the first Canadian to win five medals at Pan Pacs. The five medals were made up of three bronzes in the 100m freestyle, 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays, a silver in the 200m backstroke, and a gold in 200m freestyle. She came close to the podium, taking fourth in the 50m freestyle and 4x200m medley relay. In her golden performance, she beat out American superstar Katie Ledecky. But the young Ruck is looking forward to when she will return to Tokyo.
“This sets my expectations higher,” she added in an interview with Swim Canada. “I just love Japan and hopefully I’ll be able to come back here in two years (for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games).”
The swimmers were completing at the Tatsumi International Swimming Center, which will host the water polo events at the upcoming Olympics. The swim events will be held just down the block, at a now unfinished facility.
Sydney Pickrem also picked up some hardware, with a silver in the 200 meter individual medley, breaking her own Canadian record in the process. Pickram and young Canadain Kelsey Wog then tied for fifth in the 200m breaststroke.