Andrew Cooke met the criteria to be chosen for the Pan Pacific team and now he’s on it.
Cooke, a para swimmer with the KISU swim club, will be going to Pasadena, Calif., for the 2014 Pan Pacific Games Aug. 6-10 representing Canada.
Cooke accomplished the feat by earning qualifying times in the 100- and 200-metre freestyle events while competing in the Can American Games in Miami at the end of March, Fla. During that meet he also set a Canadian record in the 200 individual medley, in which he captured a gold medal.
Cooke received the good news on the Internet.
“I was very excited,” said Cooke, prior to a training session at the Penticton Community Centre Tuesday.
Cooke’s coach Jane Bentley was equally excited about the news. She said they went to Florida with hopes of Cooke making the team.
“Came home from the meet expecting to be on the team but not sure where they would make the cut,” she said.
Up next for Cooke are two training cycles before going to Pasadena. He will train with the Canadian national team for three weeks.
“We hope Andrew can go down and have another exceptional performance,” said Bentley.
“Congratulations go to Andrew Cooke for being selected to the Pan Pacific Games. This is an incredible achievement, and it’s fantastic to see a regular patron of the Penticton Community Centre succeed at this level,” said Mayor Garry Litke in a statement issued by the city.
Cooke’s selection to the Canadian team for the Pan Pacific Games is step closer to qualifying for the Paralympics.
“Representing Canada at Para Pan Pacs is a wonderful accomplishment for Andrew, the result of a lot of hard work on his part, as well as the dedication and talent of his coach. We are very proud of him. He is an inspiration to our entire club,” said KISU swim club president Nancy Telford in a statement.
While in Miami for the Can American Games in the Ransom Everglades Aquatic Centre, Cooke found that the weather impacted him a bit with the colder winds. Bentley said it was cooler than expected with the strong head winds coming off the ocean. However, Bentley added that going through that made it a wise choice to make it a qualifying meet because the venue for the Pan Pacific Games will be outdoors in Pasadena.
Bentley said that Cooke’s work ethic has improved since he competed in the Can Am Parachampionship last year in which he came second in the 200-m IM. He is training hard and has more drive.
Contributing to Cooke’s success in the Can American Games was switching his freestyle breathing pattern. Bentley said that made a big difference for Cooke.
“He’s been doing a little more work outside of the pool as well,” Bentley told the Western News in an earlier interview. “That is paying off. That’s something I hope he continues to do. He’s been going to the gym and getting massaged, looking after himself physically.”