Tabitha Baumann picked up her first gold medal of the week by winning the women’s 800 metre freestyle race, Saturday night at the national swim trials.
The 19-year-old, who has swimming in her blood as her father Alex won two gold medals for Canada at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, stayed on her own pre-race plan.
“I was trying to stick to my own strategy, not focusing on anyone else in the pool that was taking it out maybe too fast,” said Baumann. “I was trying to focus on my breathing pattern, and trying to stay positive most of the race, but it’s hard and quite painful.”
The Australian-born athlete, was looking forward to improving on her personal best time of 8:32.37 in this race after a great preparation. However, she fell just short of that time in the final swimming 8:37.94.
Despite not reaching her own personal goal, Baumann’s time was again fast enough for a Pan Am spot, something she had already achieved the night before.
“It was a good preparation, except for I had to fly from New Zealand so I had to get over the whole jet lag pretty quickly,” she said. “I mean, this was my best shot for improving my best time, unfortunately I didn’t quite get it, but I’ll take it from now.”
Now a New Zealand resident, she was relieved to win this race after a disappointing second place finish last night in the 400m freestyle.
“Yes, it was better than having a close race, I enjoyed having quite a lot of an open water,” said the Edmonton Keyano Club swimmer. “The confidence of winning without the stress of having someone next to you, that was good.”
Taylor Ruck, who finished in the silver medal position was happy about her result and strategy.
“I just was going to go out with the group in the beginning and in the last few hundreds my strategy was to go up in front of them and catch them,” said the 14-year-old, from Kelowna, B.C.
Ruck, who grew up in Scottsdale, Ariz., is having a great season so far, but she isn’t paying much attention to that.
“Just letting things happen,” Ruck said. “Working hard in practice and having fun, and that’s the biggest part.”