Chantal van Landeghem wants to remove the thorn of having missed the Canadian Olympic Team by .01 in 2012.
The Manitoba native needed to touch in 25.27 seconds and finished in 25.28 in the 50m freestyle to qualify for London 2012, since that moment on she has been determined to work even harder to not let it happen again.
¨That was such a big learning experience, it was heartbreaking for me but I have really learned a lot about myself and how much I love swimming,” she said. “I don´t want that to happen again next year so, I have been training super hard.”.
Van Landeghem began swimming at age four at the Manta Swim Club in Winnipeg and never imagined she would make a career of her favorite activity.
¨ I did not know I wanted to be a professional swimmer when I was little, I only knew I loved swimming and I wanted to keep doing it as long as It was fun and it has continued to stay fun for me throughout the years,” said the 21-year-old. “That is the main thing for me.”
At the 2014 Pan Pac Championships, van Landeghem broke the Canadian National 50m freestyle record marking 24.69. It had been held since 2009.
Tom Hainey, a former Paralympic swimmer and head coach of the Manta Swim Club, trained van Landeghem from the age of 12 until 18 and is certain she is ready to achieve many accolades for Canada.
¨What makes Chantal stand out and what has given her the most success is that she thoroughly enjoys swimming,¨ said Hainey.
¨Her improvement since 2012 has been significant, she is now the fastest Canadian in her category and currently is ahead of anyone else close to her, so she would be one of the few swimmers who have such a prominent chance to make the Olympic team and most coaches would agree on that.¨
The freestyle swimmer is currently studying psychology and competing through the University of Georgia with her team, the Bulldogs.
She is not only one of the best swimmers on the team but has also received the Ramsey Scholarship for Academic and Athletic Excellence as well as the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll as a Presidential Scholar with a 4.0 GPA.
Both Hainey and Brian Smith, Van Landeghem´s sprint coach for the last three years with the Bulldogs, agree that the key for her improvement has been the developing her physical strength.
¨We have a lot of support for our student athletes and we have a nutritionist that works with our team and works one and one with Chantal as well. Chantal understands what entails to be an elite athlete,¨ said Smith.
¨She has definitely gotten stronger thanks to our great strength coach at Georgia who is very involved with our athletes and also encourages them to be stronger. She has great chances to display her strength in the pool this coming years¨.
Van Landeghem says what’s next for her after competing in the 2015 Canadian Swimming Trials which will be the selection meet for the Canadian World Championship team, the 2015 Pan Am team, and World University Games team is school.
¨I am going back to Georgia to finish up school and exams and I am coming back in May and swim here for the summer for the Canadian team and hopefully have made the team for the Pan Ams¨.
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