Splashy swimmer medals for Canada
Paige Kremer wins bronze medal with record-breaking time at Australian Youth Olympic Festival
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Mar 16, 2013 06:00 am
A record-breaking swim by Paige Kremer ended with a cherished bronze medal for Team Canada at the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
The Olympian Swim Club member is the first female in Alberta history in the 15 to 17 age division to break the 26-second mark in the 50-metre freestyle with a time of 25.88 in Sydney.
“It was really, really exciting. I was really happy,” Kremer said. “It was really cool to get a medal for Canada.”
On the last day of the competition she initially broke the club’s long-course record with a 26.20 clocking in the prelims for a spot in the final.
“My coach told me that going 25 was possible so I really wanted to break 26,” Kremer said. “It meant so much that I did it.”
The Grade 11 Paul Kane High School student knew she was on the verge of something special during the race.
“I was feeling pretty good,” said Kremer, who finished behind two Aussies in the final. “I know where I am training-wise so it’s more about having confidence before the blocks and knowing that I can do it and I can go fast.”
There was also an extra incentive to make the podium.
“They were giving out a stuffed kangaroo and I really wanted a kangaroo.”
Kremer was one of five females on the national U16 youth team that competed against primarily junior-age (17-18) swimmers.
The youth festival, launched in 2001 and held every two years, featured more than 1,700 athletes from 30 countries in 17 sports. More than 150 Olympians have competed at the festival.
“With Canada they really focus on development teams and making these kind of teams really sets you up for the future and what you could possibly be doing, so it was exciting to make that team,” Kremer said. “It really motivates me to keep going.”
Last year Kremer anchored Canada’s bronze-medal winning 4x100 freestyle relay team at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii.
As one of the youngest swimmers at the U18 meet, she finished seventh in the 50 (26.36) and 100 (57.10) long-course free finals and swam the last leg for Canada’s B team in the 4x200 freestyle relay.
The three-time competitor for Canada at the North American Challenge Cup qualified for Pan Pacifics by placing eighth in the 100 free and 13th in the 50 free at the 2012 Canadian Summer Nationals in Edmonton.
It was a busy season for Kremer, highlighted by the Canadian Age Group Championships in Calgary. She was awarded silver in the open 50, as well as the 100 free in her age division, plus the open 200 free and 200 medley relays.
At the Olympic trials in Montreal she teamed up with Olympian club swimmers Emily Flowers of St. Albert, Arynn DeLeeuw and Jennifer Morgan for bronze in the 4x200 freestyle relay.
The next major meet for the 16-year-old is the April 3 to 6 world trials in Victoria. She is entered in eight events – 50 and 100 fly, 50, 100 and 200 free and 50, 100 and 200 back – but might not swim in all of them.
“Making worlds is a little out there,” Kremer admitted of representing Canada in Barcelona, Spain in July. “But it would be really nice to see more improvement in my 50 free and make an A final.”
However, she is a strong candidate at the trials to make the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que. as well as swim for Canada at world juniors in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates with a good showing at Summer Nationals.
“I would really love to do that,” said Kremer, who made her debut on the World Cup circuit for Canada in 2011 in Europe. “I’ve adjusted my training and I’m focusing more on what I need to be doing for my preparation. I’m also doing more dryland.”
Her best bets are the 50 and 100 sprint distances in free.
“I have a lot of power in them and I really like to swim them a lot,” said Kremer, who returned home from the Western Canadian Championships last month in Saskatoon with gold in 50 fly, 50 and 100 free and the 4x100 freestyle and 4x100 medley relays, silver in 4x200 freestyle relay and bronze in 100 back.