Failing at one Canadian trials swim meet helped Jaren LeFranc have success in another.
With a chance to make the Canadian national junior team for the Rio Olympics last summer, LeFranc did not give his best performance. A year later, things changed at the Canadian Swimming Trials in Victoria April 6 to 9 and now LeFranc will represent Canada at the 18 and under FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Indianapolis this August.
“I think not making it helped me to make it this year,” said LeFranc, who earned a spot with the minimum time needed being two minutes, 18.18 seconds and finished with 2:17.04 and finishing in 2:17.46 in the 200 metre breast stroke finals. “I’m a year older. I can kind of do those things that I didn’t do as well last time better.”
LeFranc said having the event close to home was an advantage since he didn’t have to travel far.
LeFranc learned about controlling emotions, especially on the first day because he recalls feeling very nervous. He knew he had put in the work and it was just about swimming. After seeing the scoreboard, he gave a sigh of relief and the rest of the meet went smoothly. It wasn’t because he had already made the team, but releasing his nerves. Though having made the team helped him settle.
It’s such an honour for LeFranc to accomplish what he did as he had his sights on it since the start of 2016.
“I didn’t have the best Olympic trials. It wasn’t very good for me,” said LeFranc, who will join the UBC Thunderbirds swim team this fall. “I kind of turned it around this year and I’m going to make that my goal. I really, truly wanted to accomplish it. To represent Canada is just something that, coming from a small town, it’s kind of cool that I can get that chance.”
LeFranc’s KISU coach, Tina Hoeben, who will join him at the World Junior Championships as part of the coaching staff, said what he accomplished is a big deal. LeFranc is one of four males to earn the qualifying time and he’s the best in Canada for 18 and under in the breast stroke.
Hoeben said LeFranc’s accomplishment played a big part in her being added to the coaching staff after she put her name in. Hoeben said he made his qualifying time in the morning in a “pretty intense meet.”
“There was a lot of tension on the deck,” said Hoeben, adding LeFranc also made it to the A final in the evening. “The main coach from Swimming Canada was very impressed with his consistency. Lots of people crack under that kind of pressure. Just because a lack of experience, not being in that situation, Jaren did a really good job of nailing it that second time.”
Hoeben said Swimming Canada staff see it as part of her responsibility to prepare him for that. Hoeben wore a big grin when talking about the chance.
“I’m super excited about it. Just to be able to coach at that higher level and have that experience and exposure to that international, best in the world 18 and under is a pretty amazing opportunity,” she said.
Leading up to the week in Indianapolis, Team Canada will do a week of training as a team. This will also allow the coaches to get to know the swimmers better. Hoeben and LeFranc will be with the team from Aug. 13 to 29.