swimming | “I don’t understand anything,” Catherine Savard admits

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

Simon Darwin

Simon Darwin

Catherine Savard didn’t believe in her chances of qualifying for the Olympics in the 100m butterfly that she didn’t even tell her father that she was swimming with him on Saturday night.

“I’m sure he doesn’t even know I’m going to the games yet!” she said, her hair still half wet, an hour after swimming.

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

“I don’t understand a thing,” she repeated, still amazed at her unexpected choice of her old favorite. “I’m in shock. In all the scenarios I had planned in my head, I never did the 100. flies he was not there. ”

The day before, Savard had been considering withdrawing from the final out of fear that a poor performance from the start would mortgage the rest of his Canadian Olympic trials, which were presented until Wednesday in Toronto.

She was afraid of reviving the nightmare of 2016. In the same place, she experienced a major disappointment in her career, finishing third in an event where she was fifth in the world during the entire Olympic cycle. She had rebounded two days later in the 200 freestyle, and won the bronze medal in the relay in Rio.

“I’ve already done it,” his mother told him earlier this week. Her daughter replied, “Mom, I don’t know how you did that.” It takes mental strength in Tabarout to be able to do what I did in 2016. I was too afraid to get that back. ”

So, the 100-meter butterfly is a system she had stored on the top shelf, in the back of the wardrobe.

Photo of Hugo Sebastian Hubert, the press

Swimmer Catherine Savard

« Enjoy “, he pointed to the turquoise jersey kept by his coach, Claude Saint-Jean, for this first day of trials. I literally took it.


Savard gained confidence for the first time in qualifying, surprising that he had his best time in over four years (58 seconds 13) without really being forced. Even without spectators and with cheers taped to the background noise, she had a blast, like her little leg swaying on the block before the start.

“It felt good to get that little bit of adrenaline back. Excitement we haven’t had in two years. Wow, I loved it.”

There was no longer any question of writing off the final as she was swimming alongside Maggie McNeil, the world champion in discipline.

On his way to the call room, Savard sent this message to Gregory Archhurst, the coach who accompanied him: “I don’t want him to hurt me for 100 metres. No matter what happens tonight, I don’t want to cry.”

As in the morning, she started gently, finishing third behind the untouchable MacNeil and Albertan Rebecca Smith, her real target. She forgot all about her race, but not the promise she made underwater: “It is not true that I shall miss this by twenty.”

As expected, McNeill, a 21-year-old pre-qualified Ontario young lady, came first in 56secs 19, a few dust off her national record. Being half a second behind Smith, Savard took him back to finish second by seven hundredths. His stopwatch: 57 seconds 86, six hundred better than the standard A, which allows automatic access to Tokyo.

Touching the wall, realizing her time on the giant screen and realizing she was going to make it to her third Olympiad, Savard turned his palms toward the sky, surprised to find himself in this position.

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

“She’s taken the reins of the 100 butterflies and she’s doing it really well,” Savard said. I don’t dream about it anymore. I know it’s a check mark above. Everything you have achieved is incredible. ”

Savard climbed a few steps to reach St-Jean, confined to the stands like all his peers. Leaning on the railing, the swimmer grabbed her head in disbelief. for him Fitness Trainer applaud her. Tears flowed. “This time, you’re crying for the right reasons,” Saint Jane said.

regain confidence

In Toronto, Savard was targeting the 200-plus freestyle, where she believes she has a chance in Sunday’s relay, and the 200-butterfly, a very open distance since Audrey Lacroix retired.

Surprised, Mr. Coach? He admitted “yes” before adding: “I knew that at the age of 28, with all the experience she had, if she felt good… she had so much flair racer, to perform. This is what she gave. ”

In the morning, Saint-Jeanne asked her to save herself on the foreign trip and put rubber on the length of the return trip. The finish was a carbon copy, with a little extra power.

” I found that [Smith] He left very quickly, Saint Jean analyzed. I did a little like Catherine did before. In the end, in the last 10 metres, the arms no longer rose. There, Kat trusts. She is able to leave more slowly. When it reaches 50 yards, it can focus 15 yards underwater. ”

Calgary coach told Savard that it might have been helpful for him to put aside his favorite race. Approved.

I think it helps that I stopped focusing on the little details of the 100m that were still killing me on the inside.

Catherine Savard

And in Rio, the bronze medal in the relay did not erase a 100-meter butterfly penalty. This time Savard is elsewhere.

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“I lived through this pain for years. There, I live something else and I will live it separately. This is one of the biggest surprises that has happened to me. I will take it. In fact, I go from far. Since 2016, I have been in poor shape both physically and mentally. I trained this year Very hard. I don’t really have one, but I don’t have the same mind as I had in 2016.”

Before leaving under the whistle and with the encouragement of the Canadian coaches – she made them laugh by showing her muscles – she warned Savard that she would not sit on her back. [ses] Glories” on a free Sunday for 200 metres.

His greatest wish? He qualified with teammate Mary Sophie Harvey, fourth in the 100m backstroke which was won by world champion Kylie Maas in a lap time of 57secs 70, third in history.

“Mary deserves it too, we both train hard. I would like to do it with her.”

Victory but no standard for “Ali”

Photo by Frank John, Canadian Press الصحافة

Alison Ackman

Pointe-Clear player Alison Ackman led the 400m freestyle from start to finish, but his best time in life (4:10:92) wasn’t enough to give him a direct ticket to his first Olympic Games in Tokyo. She will try to recover on Sunday in the 200m freestyle.

This Sunday

200m Freestyle, 100m Breaststroke: Entry into the spectacle of Benny Oleksiak, who preferred to ignore the 100m butterfly. Her coach, Ben Tetley, explained that the Olympic vice-champion in discipline was more than just a natural crawler, and that last year’s back problems prevented her from working properly. kick Butterfly, above all, had to keep her schedule in anticipation of the Tokyo Games, where she could line up in two singles and three relays. Oleksiak has already qualified in the 200 freestyle by virtue of placing sixth at Gwangju Worlds in 2019.

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