It’s not easy making the tough decisions.
That is exactly what Canadian national swimmer Will Brothers did this past fall when he decided to transfer from the University of Victoria to the University of British Columbia starting in January, to not only benefit his swimming career but also his education.
The 20-year-old is now a part of the UBC swimming team under coach Steve Price as well as the Vancouver High Performance Training Centre where he works under national coach Tom Johnson.
“I needed a little bit of a change of scenery and I wanted to put a little more emphasis on school as well as having a high performance training center,” said Brothers, on the phone driving home from the training centre in Vancouver. “This seemed to be the best scenario for me and I think I made the right decision.”
The Canmore, Alta. native has benefited from the switch, now having his school and training centre so close together.
The change in commute is something that Price believes has really helped his swimmer improve in the pool. Though Brothers had to play catch-up in his fitness level over the Christmas holidays to get himself ready to compete, his coach sees lots of promise.
“Coming in and having everything be at his fingerprints, I think, has really helped him,” said Price, on the phone from his office in British Columbia.
“He showed up late December and he had to fit right in where we were and he wasn’t the fittest I would say,” said Price. “He had to work pretty hard over the holidays to get his fitness level up but he’s moved along quite well.”
Brothers feels the same way and is hoping to get back on track now that he is settled in at UBC. He has strong ambitions of what he wants for his swimming future.
While the swimmer has contemplated a try at open water competition, his aim right now is what most amateur athletes strive for — the Olympics.
“For right now, the focus is, especially with this transition, is just to get my pool swimming back to where I want it to be,” said Brothers. “The goal is the Olympic trials in a year from now and then leading into the Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio.”
The 20-year-old has already accomplished so much in his career, the most important one being his second place finish in the 1,500 freestyle at the 2013 World Championship qualifiers.
Brothers posted the second fastest time ever by a Canadian, behind Ryan Cochrane who finished first in that race.
However, since then the Canadian has struggled.
“For whatever reason he lost his way a little bit after the great result at the World Championship qualifiers,” said Price. “But I think if he stays positive and stays on track and he just keeps developing the way he’s developing I think he can surpass those performances.
“He’s one of the best distance swimmers we have and we like a lot of what we see.”
As for life after swimming? Brothers is thinking about following in the footsteps of his father in the medical field. Dad even served as the national swimming team doctor for a year.
The swimmer is currently completing his undergraduate degree in biology at UBC.
“Yeah that’s definitely the goal, that was part of the switch was to get a good education and UBC is one of the best places in the country to get an education,” said Brothers.
“I’d like to eventually apply to medical school.”
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