The Speedo Western Canadian Championships brings together a great mix of Canada’s senior, youth and junior swimmers from across Western Canada. Alexandria Hedges, Eric Louie, and Griffin Ternier-Smith swam in the 4-day event at the Kinsmen Centre in Edmonton, from April 11 to 14.
The competition was fierce with many of Canada's top swimmers coming from Canadian Trials last weekend.
Hedges had a great finish to her meet in the 50m freestyle on Sunday night, where she touched the wall third out of 10 women and snagged a bronze medal!
"The race is so fast it’s hard to see what’s going on until the water settles and you look up at the clock," explained Coach Norah Vogan. "The entire race is usually decided within hundredths of a second so every move counts."
Hedges works well under pressure and she proved that earlier in the weekend when she tied for 10th place in her 50m butterfly. "In the case of a 10th place tie there has to be a swim-off to decide who gets to be in the final. Alex was incredibly calm, went in aggressively, and won the tie breaker decisively! She wanted it and got it." Hedges swam the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, and 50m butterfly.
Griffin Ternier-Smith did a great job as he continued to drop time in his freestyle events. "Griffin is a fun swimmer to watch race. He’s relaxed, knows what he needs, and keeps chipping away at those times,’ said Coach Norah Vogan. Ternier-Smith competed in the 50m freestyle, 100m free, 200m free, and 400m free.
Eric Louie had a difficult meet with four races over two days, with both races scheduled back-to-back each day.
"Both times Eric raced he jumped out, circled back, and raced again. It was not an ideal schedule for anyone," said Vogan. Despite the tough situation, Eric bested his 100m breaststroke time and moved his position from 9th to 6th place. "It’s frustrating and challenging but Eric did well with it. He made finals in three of the four events and swam gutsy." Louie competed in the 50m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke, 50m butterfly and 100m butterfly.
"These meets are good to show us where we’re at in personal times," Vogan said. "Sometimes we hit it perfectly and sometimes we need to go back to the drawing board and tweak. We have a lot of season left."
"We have a couple of smaller but important meets coming up for our club. The national competitions will continue in June and July so we’ll be taking what we learned from here and getting ready for that."
— Norah Vogan