Racing underway at World Aquatics Championships
FUKUOKA, Japan – Canada’s best swimmers are in Japan and ready to take on the world at the Fukuoka 2023 World Aquatics Championships.
The 20th edition of the best-on-best competition began Friday with the women’s 10-km open water marathon at Seaside Momochi Beach Park. Emma Finlin of Edmonton Keyano Swim Club finished 30th while Etobicoke Swim Club product Bailey O’Regan was 38th.
“We knew coming in we’ve got two girls swimming their second ever 10-km and the first one was at our Trials so they’re both very inexperienced at the international level,” said Open Water Head Coach Mark Perry. “The positive thing in terms of results our first-place swimmer was better than our first-place swimmer last year (34th)
“In terms of the program it’s a good improvement,” Perry said. “We need to get them some more race experience.”
The world championships run through July 30. Approximately 2,400 competitors from 200 countries are expected to compete, including 32 Canadians (16 men, 16 women) across pool and open water swimming.
Viewers can catch the action live via the free CBC Gem steaming service, cbcsports.ca, and the CBC Sports App for iOS and Android devices, and watch broadcast coverage on CBC TV as part of CBC Sports weekend programming throughout the competition.
CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux is in Japan poolside keeping audiences up-to-date on the latest news and posting social videos daily.
Events will be live streamed across CBC Sports digital platforms, with a live swim show hosted by Anastasia Bucsis streaming daily on CBC Gem beginning July 23 for all final events.
Action continues with the men’s 10-km at 8 a.m. local time Sunday morning (7 p.m. Saturday ET).
Pointe-Claire Swim Club product Eric Brown, the national open water champion, is looking to improve upon his 26th-place finish from last year’s world champinships in Budapest.
“I had a good race until like the last like 1,500 I started dying really bad,” said Brown, who was also part of Canada’s relay last year. “This year, I’m hoping to kind of have a similar start and stay with everyone because I’m better and more fit right now. I’m looking to hopefully keep up that pace with everyone and see what I can do.”
Brown will be joined by two-time 5-km medallist Eric Hedlin of Victoria. The open water team is in Fukuoka after a weeklong staging camp in Toyota. The team trained at Chukyo University, which has a 50-m outdoor pool, 25-m indoor pool and weight room.
“The staging camp was really good,” said Brown. “I’ve been feeling really good and it was nice to swim outside. We have a good group here, I’ve had fun with everyone and it’s been good training, good coaching and everything.”
“We had a fantastic staging camp in Toyota. We were looked after extremely well by the city, the pool staff and Chukyo University,” added Perry. “The athletes are looking in great shape and have really gelled together as a team. The staff have done a fantastic job of getting them ready. We’re raring to go and looking forward to some fast racing.”
Brown also won the 400, 800 and 1,500-m freestyle at the Bell Canadian Swimming Trials and will shift to represent Canada in the pool following open water competition, as will 1,500-m champion Finlin.
The rest of the pool team is now in Toyota for its staging camp at the same location. The eight-day pool swim meet gets underway July 23.
Full team list: https://www.swimming.ca/en/national-teams/senior-national-teams/fukuoka-2023-world-aquatics-championships/
Schedule and results: https://www.worldaquatics.com/competitions/1/world-aquatics-championships-fukuoka-2023/results?disciplines=
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