Swimming | A second Quebec swimmer at the Olympic Games

(Toronto) Patrick Hussey started swimming to imitate his big sisters, Cassandra and Stéphanie. In fact, he mainly wanted to beat them.


Published at 9:14 p.m.

Several years later, they were with their parents in the stands of the Pan American Sports Center in Toronto to see him qualify for the Paris Olympic Games on Wednesday evening. By finishing second in a hotly contested 200m freestyle final, Hussey all but secured his place in the relay.

Confirmation will have to wait until Sunday evening, when the team is officially named, but the Beaconsfield swimmer sounded like a guy selected after his race.

Leader after 100 m, Hussey saw his young neighbor Lorne Wigginton overtake him in the next length. After the last corner, it was Alexander Axon, playing on the other side, who snatched victory from the first two after a breathtaking finish.

Axon’s time, which boasted a little after his success: 1 min 47.56 s. Not enough for an individual selection, but a big personal best for the 20-year-old Ontarian, winner of the 400m on Monday.

Hussey followed in 1:47.78, bettering his own provincial record for the second time in one day. The product of the Pointe-Claire club, who played at the University of North Carolina for the last four years, contained his joy when he presented himself in front of the journalists.

“Of course I’m happy, it’s a qualification for the Olympics,” said the 23-year-old. I am very happy to be top 4. I would have liked to win, but I’m still very happy with the top 2.”

Versed in long distances in his early days, Hussey gradually moved closer to the middle distance during his stay in the NCAA, a circuit focused on sprinting. For the final, he chose to set the tone in the first half of the event.

I usually finish this strong. I was happy to change my tactics a bit and go faster. Next time I hope I can come back a little faster and finish first.

Patrick Hussey

For his ex-coach Martin Gingras, the Olympic Games are only a logical continuation for the man he coached from the age of 14-15. “If you had asked me at the time which of his group would make the Olympic team one day, it’s him I would have named,” he confided a few minutes before an emotional finale for the one who works now for Swimming Canada.

“He had the talent in terms of swimming quality and fitness,” he described. He’s one of the guys who has managed to progress consistently. »

The move to the United States and the 25-yard races were an apprenticeship for the man who distinguished himself more in the 50-meter pool.

“It’s a bit of our pride in Pointe-Claire because he achieved his first national standard in the 1500 m and he made his first national teams in the 10 km [en eau libre] », underlined Gingras.

“It’s because of his efficiency in the water and his good training base. That’s kind of our philosophy: working on solid foundations at a young age. For guys, it’s important because it takes time to develop. If the technique is not acquired at a young age, they will never have it. »

Hussey discovered “a new perspective on how to swim” at the University of North Carolina and built his confidence by competing at the 2022 and 2023 World Championships. “It really pushed me to make the Olympic team », noted the future economics graduate.

Hussey therefore joins Mary-Sophie Harvey on the Canadian Olympic team. In Paris, he will become the first Quebec male swimmer to participate in the Games since Charles Francis, semi-finalist in the 100m backstroke in 2012.

” Not the time to fool ! » for Antoine Sauvé

It was very close for a second to join him. Tied for tenth and last at 150 m, Antoine Sauvé came close to causing a surprise with a final thunderous length, the fastest in the final.

Fifth at the finish, he finished four hundredths of a second behind fourth, veteran Jeremy Bagshaw, who should be selected for his first Games at the age of 32.

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY SWIMMING CANADA

Antoine Sauvé

“After 150, I was pretty close to the bottom, but then I said to myself: Olympic qualification, no time to fool around! », recounted the 18-year-old Montrealer.

” I gave everything. I finished super quickly, I had one of the best splits, but I was missing something to join the team. »

Surprised to see his ranking on the board, Sauvé was obviously overcome by disappointment, even if he improved his best time by almost two seconds in a single day. Bagshaw, who is studying medicine in Ireland, went to see him straight away.

“He told me: ‘In the 100m freestyle tomorrow, you’re the one who makes the team,’” said Sauvé, who is banking more on the shorter event. He also participated in the last World Championships in Doha in the 4 x 100 relay, where he was destabilized by the scale of the event.

An hour after the final, the teenager with the black stars painted on his blond coconut was already thinking about what happened next. “It gives me confidence and it’s motivation for the 100 freestyle. We can take that positively. »

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