Erika Seltenreich.Hodgson is working with two of Canada's top swimming coaches. Photo: Courtesy Swim Canada.

Ottawa swimmer has Pan Am and Olympic aspirations

UBC Thunderbird Seltenreich-Hodgson coming off outstanding season

What an opportunity it would be to represent your country while doing the sport you love.

That’s what is at stake for Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson at the Canadian Swimming Trials being held in Toronto this week.

Seltenreich-Hodgson, who swims the individual medley, is hoping to perform well enough at the trials to earn a spot at the upcoming Pan Am Games and World Championships.

“I would like to make both the World’s and the Pan Ams,” said Seltenreich-Hodgson. “Because the Pan Ams are on Canadian soil I feel like it would be really awesome to win a medal … I’m not sure exactly how within my reach that is but it’s going to be a goal of mine regardless.”

The Ottawa native was named the Canadian Interuniversity Sport female swimmer and rookie of the year in 2014.

A University of British Columbia Thunderbird product, she believes recognition can go a long way in establishing a good reputation for herself in the world of swimming

“Winning any recognition award is a big deal because it’s above and beyond just swimming,” said Seltenreich-Hodgson. “You’re being recognized with your university and it’s cool to get a name out there for swimming.”

Seltenreich-Hodgson has had the opportunity to hone her swimming skills under the direction of Tom Johnson, a man who has been instrumental in helping the careers of Canadian Olympic swimmers such as Brian Johns and Kelly Stefanyshyn.

Johns, a three-time Olympian swimmer, is now the assistant coach of the Thunderbirds and he along with coach Johnson have been key in developing Seltenreich-Hodgson.

“They’ve taught me so much about techniques and strategy and just training in general,” said Seltenreich-Hodgson when asked about the influence of her coaches. “I can’t really put into words how much they’ve helped.”

Johnson has been able to work with Seltenreich-Hodgson over the past few years and first met her during various National Swim trips.

He believes that Seltenreich-Hodgson shows her incredible swimming potential at races rather than in training.

“There’s not that much that impresses you about her in training, she’s very diligent and she does everything but she’s not one of these kids that lights up the pool in training … not often anyway,” Johnson said. “The thing that impresses me most about her is the transformation that happens when she comes to race.

“She’s an unbelievably great racer in the big meet situations so that seems to help her achieve the things that she does.”

Seltenreich-Hodgson is currently a member of the Canadian National Swim Team and is hoping that she can improve her swimming enough to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Getting the opportunity to compete on the world’s biggest stage for Canada would fulfil her lifelong dream.

“I definitely want to make the Olympics next year … it’s been one of my goals for quite a while,” said Seltenreich-Hodgson. “A lot can happen in a year but if I can continue to improve the way I have been the last two years I would like to get a medal on the international stage.

“Making a name for myself among the top swimmers in the world would be very rewarding.”