Justin Fotherby,17, and Ashley McMillan, 17 have been chosen for an invitation only competition that sees 20 of Canada’s top swimmers per event vying for a spot at the upcoming 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. (Submitted)

Penticton swimmers off to Olympic trials

The pair are eyeing a spot on the Canadian team heading to the Tokyo Olympics

Two Penticton swimmers have their eyes set on the Tokyo Olympics as they head off to the Olympic swim trials in Ontario in hopes to gain a spot on the Canadian team.

KISU Swim Club members Justin Fotherby and Ashley McMillan, both age 17, have been chosen for an invitation only competition that sees 20 of Canada’s top swimmers per event vying for a spot at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games.

Last years trials were postponed due to COVID-19 and this year the Canadian Olympic Swim Trials are set to take place in Toronto, Ont. at the Pan Am Sports Centre June 19-23, under heavy COVID restrictions and protocols.

The road to the Olympic Trials has not been easy for the pair, said coach Tina Hoeben.

Both Fotherby and McMillian find themselves playing catch-up with the other competitors. COVID-19, and its restrictions on their swimming has impacted the duo’s training leading up to the trial.

Preparing for a long course swim competition in a short course pool, with public health social distancing is one of the many challenges these swimmers have had to face. Both Fotherby and McMillian have been using every resource available to them to further their training in order to prepare for their upcoming events.

The process for attending Olympic Trials is no simple feat either, nor does it guarantee a spot on the Canadian Olympic Team.

To attend and participate at the Olympic Swim Trials, a swimmer must first achieve a qualifying time in their respective event(s). Once at the Trials, the swimmer’s quest for a position on the Canadian Team begins.

Swimmers in the events whose distance is 200 metres or less are given a preliminary and a final race. Those swimming 400 metres and over, are only given one race as a final. Regardless of distance, swimmers will need to place in the top two with the Olympic qualifying time in order to secure themselves a spot on the Canadian Olympic Team. Event structure and the number of competing athletes has been modified greatly in order to comply with COVID regulations and athlete safety.

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