Breaking BC swim records is becoming so commonplace for Alexandra Gabor, 16, it’s good that she can shake things up a bit by helping break a national one.
The Whitehorse Glacier Bears Swim Club member just returned from a small European tour, competing against the best of the best at the World Aquatic Championships in Rome, and just last weekend against Great Britain’s best at the British Grand Prix Short Course in Leeds.
At the Grand Prix, Gabor produced personal best times in all her events and broke six BC records plus a Canadian one with the relay team, resulting in a total of three medals. (Yukon swimmers are included in Swim BC’s record book.)
“Five world records and numerous Common Wealth records were broken at the meet, so it was a pretty big meet,” said Gabor, referring to the Grand Prix. “I didn’t want to expect anything going into the meet – I didn’t want to say, ‘I have to win gold medals,’ because that wouldn’t have been realistic.”
In her five events, Gabor won bronze in the 200-metre freestyle and two silver medals in relay events, the 4×100- and
4×200-metre freestyle. She also finished ninth in the 100-metre freestyle and sixth in the 400-metre freestyle.
In the 4×200 relay, her team set a Canadian record, while in her 200-metre individual she broke the Canadian record from before the race – the winner set a new one.
“It goes to show how fast Canadian swimming is getting, and how much we’re improving,” said Gabor. “It’s definitely going to push me to keep training hard.”
The Canadian record set in the 4×200 is her first senior Canadian record, but Gabor still holds Canadian age-group records for 10-and-under 1500-metre freestyle, and 12-and-under 200-, 400- and 1,500-metre freestyle.
At the start of the month in Rome, not only did she became the first Glacier Bear to compete at that level, Gabor helped the national team reach eighth in the 4×200-metre freestyle. She also finished 20th in the 200-metre freestyle, leaving BC records in her wake.
“There wasn’t that much pressure at the meet, it was more of an excitement to be there racing with the best in the world,” said Gabor. “There weren’t a lot of set expectations; I didn’t have pressure to win or to get a medal because I’m not quite there yet.
“The fact that our relay team made the finals is unbelievable and I’m glad to have been a part of that.”
As the second-youngest swimmer on the Canadian team, Gabor obviously has a bright future in the sport, and according to her, the more experienced swimmers in Rome set a great example for her on how to perform both in and out of the pool.
“I didn’t get to meet (any role-models), but I did get to see them race, which is a big step up from watching them on TV,” said Gabor. “It’s amazing to see how they handle themselves at these meets, the way they handle the pressure. Especially Michael Phelps, he has a lot of pressure put on him. He handles himself with grace, even when he doesn’t win.
“I hope some day I’m at the same level that he’s at and I can carry myself the same way.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org