No doubt it was a long drive home from the Pan Pacific Championships for Glacier Bear swimmer Alexandra Gabor and her family, driving all the way from Irvine, California, to Whitehorse.
But the road to the Pan Pacifics was also a long one for the 17-year-old member of the Canadian Senior National team.
After qualifying for the event at the Summer National Championships at the start of the month, then almost having her rightly earned position on the team given away because of a clerical error, Gabor finally hit the pool as a representative of Canada the week of August 19-22.
Although she did not swim to the best of her abilities, posting no personal best times, Gabor picked up valuable experience that she hopes to draw on in the future.
“The Pan Pacific Championships weren’t as good as I was hoping for, but I learned a lot from the meet, and it’ll help me train better this upcoming season,” wrote Gabor in an e-mail to the News.
“It was a great experience and I managed to learn a lot from it, in particular the mental attitude needed to swim fast in the preliminaries. At this meet there was a great deal of competition within the team, because only two swimmers from any one country could make the A-final. As well, there was tons of competition at the meet, since many of the world’s best swimmers were there.”
The Sunshine State turned out to be a little too sunny and hot for the Yukoner, contracting heat stroke early on, which hampered her performance in the 200-metre freestyle – her strongest event. Swimming four seconds off her previous time in the event, Gabor failed to advance to the finals, finishing 29th.
Still feeling residual effects of the heat stroke, on the second day of competition she placed 37th in the 100-metre freestyle. She later placed 25th in the 400-metre freestyle and 28th in the 50-metre freestyle.
“Out of my races, the 50 free was my best. I swam a season best time by two tenths of a second, which is quite a bit in that race, and I was only five-hundredths of a second away from breaking my own BC record.”
Her first time participating in the senior version of the event, Gabor competed at the Junior Pan Pacifics last year in Guam, finishing 4th in the 200-metre freestyle and helping her team to a bronze in the 4×200-metre freestyle relay.
“The Pan Pacs are much more competitive and exciting than the Junior Pan Pacs,” wrote Gabor.
The first Yukon athlete to win a gold medal at the Canada Summer Games, winning two gold and two bronze in 2009, Gabor currently holds five national and 21 SwimBC records.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org