Splashy swimmer dominates pool
Georgia Kidd wins medals and breaks records for Olympian Swim Club
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 06:00 am
Georgia Kidd achieved podium finishes this season by swimming in the fast lane for the Olympian Swim Club.
The 14-year-old St. Albert athlete also set a number of Swim Alberta and Olympian records at various provincial, national and international meets.
Her vast medal haul included three gold, one silver and one bronze in backstroke and freestyle with Team Canada at the sixth annual North American Challenge Cup last weekend at the Kinsmen Sports Centre.
“Every time I achieve a new goal I get to make a new one,” said Kidd, the U12 national short-course 100m back record holder at 1:04.30. “It’s really motivating for my next race.”
At the Challenge Cup, Kidd's gold-medal winning time of 1:04.34 in the 100m back broke the U14 provincial long-course record and lowered her personal best by 1.5 seconds.
“I wasn’t expecting it, to be honest,” said the provincial long-course 50m back record owner. “I was just trying to go for a big best time, which I did.”
Kidd also touched first in the 50m and 100m free finals in her third meet in three weeks.
“In my 100 free I was in a tough situation because I was about to swim the 200 back 20 minutes after that so I had to just focus on that race and not worry about the race I had to swim next. It was good to be in that situation and learn to control my nerves,” she said. “In past years I’ve been getting real nervous before my races but this year I’ve been to a lot of bigger meets and had a lot of new experiences and I’ve been able to control my nerves a lot better. That’s helped me immensely.”
Kidd was awarded bronze in the 200m back and silver in the 100m fly. She was also a triple gold medallist in the relays.
Olympian swimmer Emily Flowers of St. Albert was the silver medallist in the U16 50m free and was a double gold medallist in the relays.
The Challenge Cup also featured teams from Mexico, California, Washington and Oregon.
“It was cool to race those people to see how they swim in that kind of situation and how I can compete against them,” said Kidd.
The Grade 9 Lorne Akins student made her Canada debut with the national prospects team at the Mel Zajac Jr. International Meet in Vancouver in May. Her fifth-place time of 30.81 in the 50m back broke the U14 provincial long-course mark and set a club record.
“The meet was a really cool learning experience because I get to meet my competitors from other provinces and cities and instead of going up against them and be like rivals we get to compete as a team and be on relays together. It was good bonding time with my rivals,” Kidd said.
Earlier in the year she tested the water at the Olympic trials in Montreal.
“It was really neat because I’ve never been to a meet with all those Canadian Olympians. I got to watch how they swam and take tips from them and see how they reacted to big meets.”
Kidd clocked personal bests in the 100m and 200m back and 100m and 200m free. Her highest ranking was 60th in the 100m back.
“For that time, in the first long course meet of the season, I did pretty well,” she said. “It was a real good learning experience. I got to see how I reacted to that big of a meet. I was pretty calm about it. I was a lot more relaxed than I thought I would be.”
At the next open meet Kidd attended she placed 13th overall in the 50m back at senior nationals.
Last month in Calgary, Kidd competed in her third Canadian Age Group Championships and lowered her national 50m back record to 30.14 seconds, which was also an open girls club record. Her other club record at the long course meet was 2:06.61 in the 200m free.
Kidd was pure gold at nationals in the 50m back, the 50m free, breaking 27 seconds for a personal best time, and 100m free. She won silver in the 50m fly and bronze in the 200m free and 200m back and shared gold with Alyssa McNamara of St. Albert with the Olympian team in the 200m free relay.
Kidd is a perennial medal contender in the back and free but has achieved her greatest successful in the backstroke.
“I train it a lot. It’s pretty close to freestyle in some ways and I like to train sprint free a lot,” she said. “Lately I’ve been working a lot on reaching and my pull and getting my stroke rate up higher.”
Olympian coach Dave Macdonald said Kidd has solid grasp of all her strokes.
“She is a pretty good all-around swimmer, but she has swam backstroke quite well for a number of years now,” Macdonald said. “She has worked a lot on her pacing this year. That would be her biggest improvement, both in training and competition.”
Harnessing her natural speed also contributed to the fast times.
“She used to be the kind of kid who would always go all out the entire way and fade away at the end of races. This year she really learned to try different tactics with her pacing by going out easier sometimes and having closer splitting times,” said Macdonald.
He described Kidd as very coachable.
“At the recent North American Challenge Cup she worked with our national junior coach as her coach of the meet. She was coachable to the point of taking new feedback from a new coach and implementing it into her races right away, which is a pretty rare trait,” Macdonald said. “She buys into the training and has fun with it. She is really quite a dedicated athlete as well. She is always at training and those kind of things have led her to her success.”
Kidd started racing for the Olympians at age seven and hasn’t slowed down.
“It’s fun. I never get bored of it,” she said. “I love to race and compete against people because I’m very competitive.”
The next major goals for Kidd are more personal bests and the U14 national 100m back record of 1:01.1. She is only 7/10ths away from it with one short-course season remaining before moving up to U16.
“I just have to train harder and work on all the little things like sharper turns, going faster underwater, higher stroke rates and pulling more water.”