For the first time, young Canadian swimmers have a big group of very successful athletes to look up to.
There’s no doubt Penny Oleksiak is the biggest name on the scene, after winning four medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.
But there’s also world record holder Kylie Masse, who also won a pair of medals at the Games; and 18-year-old Taylor Ruck, who brought home eight medals from this year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.
“There’s a good group of them and they’re all very young,” said Martyn Gulby, senior coach of Olympic programs for Swimming Canada.
“It’s showing the teenage girls that are in the sport that you can perform at the highest level.
“Because we’ve got a group of them that are on relays together, it’s raising the bar for everybody.”
Right now there’s upwards of eight female athletes who are making a splash on the international scene. All of them have been pushing each other since the 2016 Games to achieve bigger things.
“She (Penny Oleksiak) swam 100-metre butterfly the day before I had my 100 back,” Masse said. “I remember she was just so calm and collected beforehand but when it was time to race, she was going for it.
“After she came out with a medal it was like: ‘Holy, OK, if she can do it, I can do it.'”
Masse would go on to win bronze in the 100-metre backstroke.
All the top swimmers in the country are in Edmonton this week for the Canadian Swimming Trials, which run Wednesday to Sunday evening at the Kinsmen Sports Centre.