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Swimming Canada trials take over Saanich Commonwealth Place

Swimmers battling for national team spots at upcoming international competitions
Olympic, Paralympic and world champion swimmers competing at the Bell Canadian Swimming Trials in Saanich Commonwealth Place. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

The Bell Canadian Swimming Trials are taking Greater Victoria by storm as competitors prep for a busy summer of international competitions.

More than 500 swimmers from 131 clubs across Canada are competing in the six-day event, which began Tuesday at Saanich Commonwealth Place.

At the trials, swimmers will be selected for the Swimming Canada teams competing at the FINA World Championships in June in Hungary, the World Para Swimming Championships scheduled for June in Portugal, and the Commonwealth Games in July in England.

Margaret Mac Neil is one of the competitors at the Saanich event. At just 21 years old she is an Olympic and world champion preparing for other global competitions.

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“I’m just going to go and hopefully swim as close to the best times as possible. This year I haven’t really done a lot of long-course swimming. I’ve been really excited about switching from short course to long course and getting to see what I can do this summer,” she said.

Tanna Giroux, mother of swimmer Calli Giroux, told Black Press Media she is excited to see her daughter competing in the breaststroke event.

“She started swimming when she was 10 years old, this is eight years later now and this is her last year swimming at a junior level,” she said. “I’m so proud of her, she is ready to race and she is here with some of Canada’s most decorated athletes and it’s really inspiring for younger generations to see some of the older swimmers and get to compete alongside them.”

Meanwhile, Paralympic medallists including Aurelie Rivard, Katarina Roxon and Danielle Dorris were in action at the trials.

“From the Paralympic program perspective, we just want to race,” said Wayne Lomas, the program’s national coach. “It’s exciting that this will be the first time since 2019 that all of Canada’s best swimmers have all raced together.”

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