Richard Funk competed in three different breaststroke contests this past weekend at the 2015 Canadian Swimming Trials. He finished with two golds and a silver medal.

Funk determined to take next step in swimming career

Breaststroke specialist eager for challenges of upcoming Pan Am games

Richard Funk swam away with two gold medals, a new meet and personal best time, and qualified for the Pan Am Games at the national trials last week in Toronto.

He still wasn’t completely satisfied with his performance.

The Edmonton native captured two first-place finishes in the 50m and 100m breaststroke events while placing second in the 200m.

Funk was far from thrilled with his overall showing.

“I wasn’t able to hit any best times aside from the 50 metres so I was disappointed from that perspective,” said Funk, who recorded a 27.65m time in the event.

“I actually like this position a lot because when you don’t achieve your goals you’re able to go back to the drawing board with your coach and say ‘How are we going to get better? What are we going to do better next time to have success?

“It’s a great position to be in heading into the summer.”

Steve Price, Funk’s former swimming coach and current boss at the University of British Columbia (UBC), said its exactly this mind set that has allowed Funk to achieve so much success to date.

“His mental game without question is what separates him from others,” said Price reached for a telephone interview.

“He’s not the biggest guy but he is a real competitor and it is his competitive drive in him that makes him excel.”

Funk however said it was his former coach who was able to unleash the beast in him at the tender age of 15 when they started working together.

“You can’t be satisfied. There are people in the world who are better than you. You can get to those times as well,” said Funk, echoing the messages Price commonly told him.

“That is something that has translated into my career going forward, that aspect of always being better and never being satisfied. So far it has paid off pretty well.”

Funk’s determination and tenacity has fuelled him to many notable accomplishments in the past, including a 2013 NCAA championship with the University of Michigan.

But the 22-year-old is now hoping to achieve his greatest accomplishment yet –- taking home an international competition.

It is a feat that Funk has struggled with in the past and is not underestimating heading into the Games.

“I’ve been on the national team for three years now and I’ve had some success but I’ve always wanted to take that next step,” said Funk, sitting in a University of Michigan sweater and shorts at the Westin Prince Hotel on Easter Sunday.

“There’s a big step from just being competitive and being in the finals, to then actually winning it.”

The Edmonton Keyano Swim Club member said despite the strong field, he remains confident in his ability and is relishing the moment.

“It’s going to be a great race but at the same time I’m in a position where I know I can do a big best time this summer,” he said.

“Swimming in front of the home crowd is going to be unbelievable. I’m not really sure how to prepare for it yet but to win that race here would be something I would remember for the rest of my life.”