- with reporting from Swimming Canada
Three of the four members of Canada's Open Water squad to this year's Pan Pacific Championships will be representatives of SwimBC clubs, following the results of the Canadian Trials event at the UANA 10K open water race in the Grand Caymans on Monday.
Hau-Li Fan (UBCD) will join Eric Hedlin (UVPCS) and Mackenzie Padington (CRKW) on Canada's Open Water team in Tokyo, JPN, this summer, with former BC swimmer Stephanie Horner being the fourth member of the team.
Hedlin and Padington had previously qualified by being the fastest 1500m and 800m swimmers, respectively, during the spring qualification period which ended on April 15, 2018; Fan had to earn his way onto the team by being the fastest Canadian not already selected at the Trials race on June 18.
The men's race was won by Hedlin, with Fan just under ten seconds behind. He and third-place finisher, Jon McKay (UVPCS) battled to the finish, with Fan getting his hand on the pad just over a second ahead of McKay.
“It was a good race, I did what I had to do to make the team,” said Fan. “There were a few technical aspects that need improvement but overall it was a solid race. I would have liked to be more competitive but I’m still relatively new to this sport and I will gain this knowledge with more experience.”
Horner, for her part, won Monday’s 10-km race to earn the second female spot on the team, along with Padington.
“I’m so excited to be Tokyo bound this summer. It’s always an honour to represent Canada,” said Horner, a three-time Olympian – twice in the pool, once in open water. “I love to race and I just want to keep getting better. This morning’s race went well. I came in with a plan and executed it. There is so much to learn from every open water race. I am always trying to learn in order to improve my ranking.”
The four athletes are the first named to Team Canada for the Pan Pacific Championships, which take place August 9-14 in Tokyo. The rest of the team will be selected at the Canadian Swimming Trials in Edmonton July 18-22.
“I’m pleased the selection for the Pan Pacs went very smoothly down here in the Cayman Islands,” said Swimming Canada Distance/Open Water Coach Mark Perry. “The hard work now starts for those selected to make sure that they are in tiptop shape in Japan this summer.”