Cale Murdock, who grew up swimming in Fort St. John, will be swimming for a spot on the Canadian Olympic team this April at the Canadian Olympic Trials in Toronto. Murdock will swim against 19 other athletes in the 200m and 400m freestyle disciplines at the trials, which take place April 7 to 11, 2021.
Murdock is excited to finally get the chance to compete against Canada's best, especially since he had already qualified for the originals set for 2020, and that COVID-19 has made any kind of swimming competition over the last year nearly impossible.
"I'm pretty excited. It's been my goal and I've been waiting to go for five years now, there's been a lot of build up," Murdock said.
Swimming Canada is limiting each distance to only 20 entries, to comply with social distancing. A normal year could see more than a hundred swimmers compete for each discipline, as anyone who met a certain time qualified. However, the times Murdock set to qualify for the trial's last year were already in the top 20 in Canada.
His qualified times have him 10th in the 200m and 14th in the 400m. At the trials, those with the five best times in the 200m will make the Olympic team, with the best two times in the 400m making the cut. The path to making the team is certainly there for Murdock. However, it's been hard for any athlete to maintain their training throughout the pandemic, and Murdock knows he still has some work to do between now and the trials to get to where he was pre-pandemic and where he needs to be in April.
"I’m getting there. Once everything closed down intitially, I had to take time off, and it's been a grind to get back. I feel pretty confident that I’ll get where I need to be," Murdock said.
Murdock moved to Williams Lake this past year, where he has been training with the Williams Lake Blue Fins.
"Being here has been great. They are still open, and have been flexible with giving me lots of pool time. I can swim as much as I need to," said Murdock.
This isn't the first time Murdock has competed at the Canadian Olympic Swim Trials. He swam at the 2016 trials and had what he calls an eye-opening experience.
"It was right after I graduated high school and I was lookking to get serious in swimming. I didn't rank very high, and it showed me what needed to be done to do better next time," he said. "I've upped my trainig, fixed myself technically, and am more focused on the goal. My times have definitely improved."
Murdock isn't shy about his goal at the trials — he's there to make the Olympic team. It's been his goal ever since he started swimming 14 years ago at age 10 with the Inconnu Swim Club.
He credits Inconnu with making him fall in love with the sport, and said he wouldn't be anywhere close to where he is now without his time spent there. Come April, his family, friends, and all who supported him along the way will be paying close attention the swimming trials.
The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to start this summer July 23.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.