Ashton Baumann races onto Canada’s Olympic swim team

Swimmer is son of Olympic gold medallist Alex Baumann

Another Baumann will be swimming in the Olympic Games for Canada.

Ashton Baumann, son of Olympic gold medallist Alex Baumann, won Thursday’s 200-metre breaststroke at Canadian trials in the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

The 23-year-old posted a time of two minutes 10.69 seconds. Baumann was the only man in the breaststroke final to go under the time standard required to make the team for Rio.

“This meet’s been a real, real pressure-cooker for me,” Baumann said. “I’ve been struggling with my nerves. Going into that, I wasn’t sure how it would pan out. It panned out a hell of a lot better than I thought I would.

“It was a bit off my goal time, but I made the team so I’m happy with that.”

Father a double gold medallist

Alex Baumann was a double gold medallist in the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles, winning the 200-metre and 400-metre individual medley in world-record times.

The 51-year-old was head of Canada’s Own The Podium from 2010 to 2012 before taking over as high-performance chief of Sport New Zealand.

Ashton, who now lives and trains in Australia, says he spoke with his father before the trials.

“He said ‘you’ve done the work. You’ve done the training,”‘ Ashton said. “I told him how nervous I’ve been for the past three nights. I’ve been getting two hours sleep at best.”

Cochrane qualifies in 400m

Victoria’s Ryan Cochrane won the men’s 400-metre freestyle comfortably in 3:48:54 and almost two seconds under the time required. He was also the only man to qualify out of that final.

In order to be nominated to the Canadian team that will compete in Rio, an Olympic qualifying time and a top-two result must be achieved in a trials final.

So even though Cochrane won a bronze medal in the 400 in last year’s world championship, the 27-year-old still had to meet those standards Thursday night to race it in Rio.

“If you can perform in April, you’re going to be that much better in August,” Cochrane said. “I’m hoping to be six or seven seconds faster this summer, so I did what I had to there.

“You have to be able to perform when you need to. This is a really good practice for performing on the day in Rio.”

Full team to be announced Sunday

Eleven women and three men have earned the right to be nominated to Canada’s Olympic team with three more days of racing. Canada’s Olympic swim team will be officially introduced Sunday.

Toronto’s Brittany Maclean set a second Canadian record in the meet winning the women’s 200 freestyle in 1:56.94. She also set a national record in the 400-metre freestyle to meet the Olympic standard in both.

“This week is so emotional with all these people with their dreams coming true and not coming true,” a breathless MacLean said. “To swim two events at the Olympics is crazy.”

Penny Oleksiak, a 15-year-old from Toronto, will join MacLean in the 200 after already qualifying in the 100-metre butterfly.

Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., and 19-year-old Kennedy Goss of Toronto were third and fourth respectively in times fast enough to qualify for the relay team.

“I think we’re going to definitely be a world-class team and that’s really cool,” MacLean said. “I think we’ve got a really good shot this summer at doing something special.”

In another family tie, Kennedy Goss’s father Donald (Sandy) Goss, also swam in the 1984 Summer Games and won a silver medal in men’s relay.

Kierra Smith of Kelowna, B.C., and Rachel Nicol of Lethbridge, Alta., qualified first and second in the women’s 100-metre breaststroke in times of 1:06.93 and 1:07.10 respectively.

The Paralympic swim trials are also running in concert with the Olympic trials, but the qualification criteria is different. Athletes will be named to the team Sunday.

Swimmers in various classifications raced together. Aurelie Rivard of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., won 200-metre medley in 2:35.99 for her third victory of the meet.

Justine Morriers of St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que., and Abi Tripp of Kingston, Ont., set Canadian para records in their respective classifications in times of 2:43.26 and 2:58.77 respectively.

Decorated Paralympian Benoit Huot was fastest in the men’s 200-metre medley in 2:14.07. Gordie Michie of St. Thomas, Ont., also set a Canadian para record in a time of 2:17.80.

The Rio Olympics are Aug. 5-21. The Rio Paralympics are Sept. 7-18.

Article Written By: Donna Spencer