Ariane Mainville was unable to reach her goals at the National Swim Trials.

Mainville falls short of goals at national swim trials

Tough year saw Boucherville Que. native battle illness that interrupted her training

Ariane Mainville came up short of her expectations at the Canadian Swimming Trials in Toronto.

The 20-year-old swimmer made the ‘A’ finals in the 50 and 100 metre freestyle events, but wasn’t able to post the times she was hoping for.

Mainville had realistic goals for each of her three events, the most ambitious being in the 100 metre freestyle.

“I really want to get my time to 55 again, and may be able to make the University World Championship team,” said Mainville in a telephone interview just one day before the trials began. “That’s my biggest goal.

“If I go 55.60, let’s say, I really think I can make the team, so that’s my goal and I really think I can do it.”

The Boucherville, Que. native finished tenth in the final Thursday with a time of 56.31.

In the 50 metre freestyle Saturday, Mainville was seeded sixth in qualifying time.

Although it’s her strongest event, she wasn’t expecting to make a team at this distance because, unlike the 100 metre where they take four girls for the 4×100 metre relay, they only take two swimmers for this race.

“Time wise, I want to get closer to No. 1,” said the Clarington Swim Club member. “Two years ago, I won gold at this event and I won silver last summer, so I’m really looking to do better than sixth.”

Claude St. Jean, Mainville’s coach for the last two years, was reserved with his expectations. The trainer for team CAMO just wants her to swim as fast as she can.

“I never predict times, but I want her in the ‘A’ final,” said the coach at pool side Thursday.

“She has been on the podium the last two summers because the top girls were not there, so she needs to get closer to her sister (Sandrine Mainville), closer to the podium when everybody’s there.”

Mainville placed ninth with a time of 25.93.

The 2011 winner of the Paul Bergen Junior International Meet also participated in the 200 metre freestyle at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre last Wednesday, posting a time more than two seconds slower than her qualifying time of 2:03.45.

St. Jean says she has to be realistic.

“She was sick a lot this year and she missed some important weeks,” said the coach. “For her, it was the first time in the ‘A’ final when everyone was there, so that’s pretty good for her.”

Mainville looks up to her older sister and fellow team CAMO member Sandrine, a national team swimmer, for a calming influence and advice leading into big swim meets, especially after having a tough year.

“This year was kind of rough for me health wise, I had bronchitis and pneumonia, and she knows I’m thinking about all this stuff behind the block,” said the younger sister, “She’s always there to calm me down, to remind me of my good races.

“She gave me a trick that she has. She always writes something on her foot like, ‘have fun,’ or ‘you go girl,’ and it’s the last thing you see before you dive.

“It’s funny because instead of being super nervous before your race, you just think of having fun.”

Follow Steve Gordon on Twitter: @stevegordon1729