Kayla Sanchez ready to go for Olympic swim trials

Rising star hoping to qualify for first Olympics

Kayla Sanchez, Team Canada swimmer
Kayla Sanchez, here at the 2017 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships, has come back from shoulder surgery to challenge for a spot at the Tokyo Olympics. Courtesy Swimming Canada

Recovery from shoulder surgery is not slowing down national team swimmer Kayla Sanchez, ahead of the Canadian Olympic swimming trials. 

The Toronto native, who swam leadoff on the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 metre teams that claimed bronze and established Canadian records at the 2019 world championships, was initially slated to undergo the procedure after the 2020 Games.

But the pandemic shutdown and postponement in Tokyo gave her a chance to move up the operation and get it done before the racing resumed.

“We had a bunch of meetings about this with the doctors as to what would work well for me leading up to the preparation for the 2021 Olympic Games,” said Sanchez, on an internet chat. “And it was to get that shoulder surgery, get that integrity back in my shoulder, use this time to build up the strength and pretty much just put myself in a good position for training this coming year.

“It’s worked out well so far.”

Sanchez maintained a full training schedule despite COVID-19 limitations, including nine swim sessions and six on dryland a week, all while working with physiotherapists and Swimming Canada staff after her surgery. 

“Everything other than that has been pretty normal,” she said. “Just kind of seeing where I can move or progress, week by week, month by month.” 

With the uncertainty surrounding the Olympic schedule Sanchez knew it was not the time to plan too far ahead.

“I had to learn to take things day by day and just be proud of those small goals that I accomplish and overall it adds up and all of a sudden the Olympics are happening.” she said. 

Helping her through the grind were her teammates, who were always there for support, or a laugh. At times, she said, “training can get hard and it can seem like a long tunnel with no end.”

“At the end of the day, the people you’re experiencing it, you can lean on those people and talk to them about concerns or if you just want to joke around and make a practice go by faster,” she said. “Everyone’s really supportive and really friendly, and they’re there for each other.”

During the late May trials, some of those teammates will be pitted against one another in pursuit of an Olympic berth.

Sanchez has lots of international success to draw from with the trials approaching, notably two bronze medals at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, two silver medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and five medals, including three gold, at the 2017 FINA World Junior Championships. 

But rather than looking back, she’s more focused on locking down a berth to Tokyo at the trials. 

“I think a lot of people have to definitely be friendly with themselves, going into the trials. It’s been so long,” said Sanchez

“I think if you can kind of develop those individual goals for yourself and if you can accomplish those at the trials that’s definitely a key to just staying calm and making sure you get everything done.”

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Posted: Mar 13 2021 9:20 pm
Filed under: Sports Swimming