Ex Campbell River Killer Whale Mackenzie Padington won three of her four events at the recent Canadian Swim Trials, earning her spot on Team Canada for the FINA World Championships in Korea in June. Photo submitted

Island swimmer off to worlds with eyes set on the Olympics

Campbell River’s Mackenzie Padington will swim for Canada yet again at World Championships in Korea

Campbell River’s Mackenzie Padington is on her way to Korea to swim for Team Canada in the World Championships.

Well, after her final exams, anyway.

Padington was named to the squad after a huge weekend in Toronto recently at the Canadian Swim Trials.

“It was very long and very hard weekend,” she says. “It was a really tough weekend mentally, but I swam well – other than messing up my prelim one morning. It was good.”

“Good” is somewhat of an understatement. Padington took the gold in three of the four distances she was competing in – 400, 800 and 1,500-metre freestyle.

And the 1,500-metre isn’t even really her thing.

“It’s actually a new Olympic event and this is only my second year racing it at the trials,” she says. “Before it was an Olympic event there wasn’t really a reason to swim it.”

And, in some ways, she’s only swimming it now because Canada needs her to.

“I wouldn’t say I necessarily like doing it, but I’m good at it,” she says. “There’s a big gap in Canada in distance swimming, so I’m glad I’m able to fill that. We don’t have anyone else that is at the speed we need people to be at to swim those distances in order to meet the time standard.”

She’ll be part of a 25-swimmer contingent heading to Gwangju, Korea for the FINA World Championships in July and she’ll be swimming the same distances she just won in Toronto.

But as for that event, she’s trying to keep her goals realistic.

“I would really just like to make a final in one of my individual events,” she says. “But there’s also a chance I could get on the 800-freestyle relay team. That team is really in medal contention, so I’d really like to get on that team and get a medal with them.”

RELATED: Race of her life qualifies Campbell River swimmer for World Championships

The World Championships is really the first major global swimming event in the lead-up to next year’s Olympic qualifying, Padington says. While she’s not getting ahead of herself, she’s confident that she’ll have a shot at that team, as well.

“I’d say I’m definitely on the right track,” she says. “I’d have to get a lot slower in all three of my races to not make it.”

But for the next few weeks, she’d got something else to stay focused on. She’s almost done the second year of the Education program at the University of Minnesota, where she is majoring in teaching English as a Second Language.

“I’m in practicum right now, so I get to spend all my time with students,” she says. “It’s easily my favourite part of the semester. Then I’ve got finals at the start of May.”

Not that she won’t still be swimming.

A ton.

“Every day except Sunday,” she says. “For an hour forty five to two hours, or so.”

While that might sound like a lot, it’s actually a bit less than she used to be in the pool.

“I did more when I was in Victoria (at the Canadian Sport Institute), because in the NCAA there’s a maximum amount of training you’re allowed to do in a week. I was actually swimming about 24 or 25 hours a week when I was there, but all NCAA athletes – in any sport – can only train for 20 hours per week.”

After her final exams this semester, she’s actually headed back to Victoria to focus on swimming for a while. She’ll be taking a year off from school to put all her efforts into Tokyo 2020.

“I need to take this year off to focus on swimming and make the Olympics,” she says. “I have to put everything forward to put my best into it, and I think going home (to Victoria) is the best way to do that.”

After all, a teaching career will always be there for her after she finishes school, but there probably won’t be too many chances to represent her country as one of the best swimmers on the planet, so she’s going to take this one.

She’s also got to make sure she gets back up here to Campbell River soon, too, she says.

“One of my best friends still lives there, and I need to visit my grandma,” she says. “And obviously I need to go see the waterfall again, because I try to do that every time I make it back.”



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

New B.C. residents not exempt from speculation and vacancy tax

Darcy Garneau has lived and worked in B.C. for over a year but could still owe money to the province

PAC RIM ACTIVE: Cathedral Grove re-opened, Little Qualicum still closed after windstorm

December windstorm caused a great deal of damage to two provincial parks

Elizabeth May’s wedding will be a ‘low carbon affair’ in Victoria on Earth Day

Green party leader’s wedding party to depart in a cavalcade of electric cars

Fisheries Department announces conservation measures to protect chinook in B.C.

Urgent protection measures include closure of a commercial fishery involving seven endangered stock

IIO B.C. looking into allegation of assault by Nanaimo RCMP

Police arrested a cabin break-in suspect in the Nanaimo Lakes area in February

Snowbirds arrive on Vancouver Island for annual spring training

VIDEO: Acrobatic air team back in Comox for annual spring training

Vancouver Island restaurant among Canada’s most sustainable eateries

Locals in Courtenay only B.C. or small city establishment to make the top six list

Kenney talks pipelines with Trudeau after election win, calls it cordial

Almost a year ago Kenney dismissed Trudeau as a dilettante and a lightweight

Federal government extends deadline to make Trans Mountain decision to June 18

The National Energy Board endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline on Feb. 22

Unveiling of Greater Victoria bus-tracking app delayed

NextRide won’t be coming to Greater Victoria until July

Penelakut Island students connect to construct wilderness trail

Initiative a labour of love for the community for recreation, healing and learning

Island man guilty of child porn charges, Crown alleges 250,000 images

Psychiatric assessment requested by Crown, sentencing to be set June 4 in Nanaimo court

Most Read