If you're a competitive swimmer from this country, the annual Canadian Swimming Trials are one of the biggest dates on the calendar. Though the date moves around a bit from year to year, this is always the time when Canada's best go head-to-head for the right to represent the nation in the next big international competition. Big deal, right? We weren't kidding!
This year, the trials were held in Edmonton, Alberta. The swimmers were hoping to secure a spot on the team going to the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, Japan this August. And the talk surrounding this year's trials was especially exciting. After a near-record 20-medal performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, many feel that the current group of young Canadian swimmers are among the best we've ever had.
Maybe the best.
With the 2020 Olympics only two years away, is this the time when Canada pulls away from the pack?
Whoa, whoa there.
For starters, American swimmers have been the gold standard in the world of swimming for years. And just because Michael Phelps has finally retired doesn't mean this pool power is letting their guard down.
Katie Ledecky, maybe the most dominant swimmer since Phelps, is only 21. There's also Simone Manuel, who split a gold medal with Oleksiak in Rio in 2016. Ryan Murphy looks unbeatable in backstroke. And Caeleb Dressel is quickly becoming a new legend, especially after winning seven gold medals at the 2017 World Championships.
This Pan Pacific meet will be a chance for these young Canadians to test themselves against these proven athletes. But Canada has it's own Olympic and Commonwealth Games success to draw from. And though it's true that many of the names on people's tongues are women—Kylie Masse, Taylor Ruck, and Penny Oleksiak—male swimmers like Markus Thormeyer, Yuri Kisil, Eli Wall are also improving.
Will they be able to improve enough to peak in 2020? We'll have to wait and see.
In the meantime, let's get familiar with Taylor Ruck, fresh off of her stunning eight-medal performance at the Commonwealth Games this past April.