Sydney Pickrem swims the butterfly leg of the 400m IM on Thursday night.

Personal best propels Sydney Pickrem on to Team Canada

Halifax swimmer wins to secure spot in upcoming international meets

Sydney Pickrem qualified for both the 2015 Pan Am Games and the World Championships on Thursday night at the 2015 Team Canada Swim Trials.

The gold medalist finished the 400 metre individual medley with a winning time of 4:39.26, six seconds below her morning preliminary time and five seconds better than her personal best.

“I’m very excited,” Pickrem said. “I haven’t been under 4:40 before, a five-second personal best is good enough for me.”

A slow start might have been cause for concern, but it was something the 17-year-old had prepared for.

“Definitely, my coach said my first 200 metres are weaker than my second 200 metres,” Pickrem said. “So staying with the girls and getting away in the second 200 was definitely my goal. That’s what I tried to do.”

Emily Overholt was the leader in the early going. The Vancouver, B.C. resident looked to follow-up on a gold medal performance in the 200 metre freestyle the night before.

It was during the breaststroke leg that she would be overtaken by a surging Pickrem.

“I’ve worked on that a lot,” Pickrem said. “Last week I did a 200m breast in 2:26 so going into this meet I knew my breaststroke improved.”

The silver medal went to Overholt, who finished with a time of 4:40.59, and the bronze was won by Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson, who finished with a time of 4:46.41.

Overholt’s 200m free win will see her join Pickrem on the Pan Am team, while her 400m IM time qualified her for the World Championships as well.

“I would have liked to be a little faster,” Overholt said. “It’s a couple of seconds off my best time but I was under the Pan Am cut and it was really, really close and that’s all I can ask for.”