Campbell River swimmer Mackenzie Padington had taken the year off school to focus her energies on training for the Olympics. She’s devastated by Team Canada’s decision to not send athletes to the Games this summer, but is in full support of. The Canadian Olympic Committee is lobbying the International Olympics Committee for a postponement. File photo

Vancouver Island Olympic hopeful devastated by Team Canada decision, but in full support

Tokyo 2020 would have been swimmer Mackenzie Padington’s first Olympic Games

Competing at the Olympic Games has long been a dream for Campbell River swimmer Mackenzie Padington.

But following Team Canada’s March 22 decision to not participate at the Olympics this summer, she’ll have to wait a little longer.

Padington was due to compete at Swimming Canada’s Olympic Trials in Toronto next week where she hoped to secure her ticket to the Games, but the event was postponed with the sport’s national body saying a decision would happen on or before April 21 about when, where, or if the competition would even take place.

The uncertainty has been weighing on the 21-year-old; the Tokyo Games would be her first Olympics.

“It didn’t come as that much of a shock, but it still hurt,” she said by phone from Victoria, Monday.

In an Instagram post Sunday night, she said she was “devastated” by the news, but was fully in support of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s decision.

The Games have been her goal for a while.

“I think they’re always a goal for younger kids growing up,” she says. “I’ve always wanted to, especially seeing Alec Page, who came from Campbell River make the Olympics and with swimming.”

She would love to follow in Page’s footsteps. At 18, the former Campbell River Killer Whales member competed at the 2012 Games as the youngest member of the Canadian men’s swimming team.

RELATED: Campbell River’s Mackenzie Padington takes three golds and a bronze at National Championships

Padington’s own Olympic dream started to come into reach in 2017 when she made her first senior national team.

She’s a distance specialist, and her best events are all 200-metres or longer. For the Tokyo Games she was targeting four freestyle races: the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1,500m.

The 1,500m freestyle is a new event for female swimmers and Padington has proved she’s one of the best in the country at it.

During last year’s national trials she won gold in the 400m freestyle, 800m freestyle and 1,500m freestyle.

But it’s really hard for swimmers to train without a pool and both Padington and the rest of her team have been unable to swim since March 17, when their pool closed.

“Swimming is a lot different than other sports. If you don’t do it for more than two weeks, you completely lose all your fitness and your feel of the water,” she says. “So it’s not a fact of keeping up my fitness, because I feel like you can do that. It’s just the fact that I need to keep my feel of the water in order to be able to train fast.”

Last week, she was told by her coach to spend time outside and find other ways to remain active. She’s gone for runs and done ab circuits; she’s gone climbing and hiking.

RELATED: Race of her life qualifies Campbell River swimmer for world championships

This week, swimmers have been provided a dryland workout plan to follow.

Before the health crisis and all the unknowns it’s brought to communities across the world, Padington was training almost five hours a day, five days a week.

She would spend Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday doing two swim sessions and a weight session, while Wednesday and Sunday were off.

Now, she’s just doing what she’s able.

“It’s really just trying to get out and do what I can,” she says. “But it’s not nearly as much as I would normally be doing.”

Last spring Padington finished her second year at the University of Minnesota’s Education program, where she was majoring in teaching English as a Second Language. She took this year off to focus on her Olympic dream. In January she announced that she wouldn’t be returning to Minnesota, but instead would continue her schooling and NCAA swimming career at North Carolina State University.

View this post on Instagram

The best hiking partners a girl could ask for 🐶

A post shared by Mackenzie Padington (@mackenzie.padington) on

Since no official decision has been announced, it’s not known how her studies may be affected.

“There’s a lot of things up in the air right now with Swimming Canada and the way things are going to run, especially if the Olympics do happen next year,” she says. “So I’m just going to have to kind of wait and see how the cards get dealt to me.”

For now, she says, she’s staying in Victoria and continuing her dryland training.

As of March 23, the dust from Team Canada’s decision was still settling and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had not responded.

The Olympics are scheduled to start July 24, while the Paralympics are set for Aug. 25.

On March 23, Canadian IOC member Dick Pound told the Canadian Press he believes the Games will be postponed. A decision is expected within four weeks.

“I just think that a lot of other countries are going to kind of follow in the footsteps that we just took,” says Padington. “I think there’s going to be a cascading effect that’s going to happen and I think it will force the hand of the IOC to either cancel or postpone the Olympics.”

The Australian Olympic Committee is encouraging its athletes to train for the Games in the summer of 2021, while Team Canada says the national Olympic committees of Norway, Brazil, Poland and Slovenia are also lobbying for a postponement.

In the meantime, Padington says she’s learning to control what she can.

“I’m starting to realize that I can’t control the uncontrollables right now,” she says. “I can only control what’s in my court.”


@marissatiel
marissa.tiel@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusTokyo 2020 Summer Olympics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP search for man wanted on 15 outstanding warrants

Steven Sandhu is believed to be living in View Royal

GAIN Group offers complimentary delivery services to customers and local health care workers

Vancouver Island customers and health care workers supported by group

Camosun College to produce more than 9,000 face shields for Island Health workers

An innovative new design will allow for mass production of face shields for use across Canada

VicPD reunites four-year-old boy with family after he snuck out a window

The boy was spotted wandering alone on Wednesday morning

LIVE MUSIC: Artist in Residence reaching into the community

Kathryn Calder to perform livestream show on YouTube channel this Friday, April 3

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

North Cowichan to police popular trails to ensure physical distancing

“You can expect delays accessing Mount Tzouhalem, or even to be turned away.”

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by B.C. Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer

B.C. adding $300 to monthly income and disability assistance payments

‘Crisis supplement’ for COVID-19 for April, May and June

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

Hip tradition sing-along planned again for Canadians April 2

The Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois is encouraging all to join him virtually in a’Porch Session.’

Most Read