Courtesy of FINA.
Eric Hedlin and Stephanie Horner were honored as Swimming Canada’s Male and Female Open Water Swimmers of the Year based on their performances at the 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Chiba, Japan.
Hedlin won a silver medal in the 10 km race in Chiba, Japan. Hedlin previously won a silver medal in the 5 km race at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona [see FINA video above], but it has taken time to return to the podium in another international competition. “Coming out of the 2017 season, where I had a disappointing placement in the 5 km at Worlds and wasn’t able to race at the World University Games due to high water temperatures, I knew I could do better and wanted the 2018 season to reflect my feelings.”
Hedlin started his 2018 open water season at the FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series in Doha, Qatar finishing 60th overall. “I had an eye opening experience at a race in Doha. It was one of the largest packs I had raced against, and although I did not place highly, I learned that I needed to work on my in-pack swimming and took this into consideration in future races.”
Hedlin’s swimming went on an upswing from Qatar. He won a silver medal in the 5 km at the USA Swimming Open Water National Championships. He then went on to win a gold medal at the 2018 UANA Open Water Swimming Championships in the Cayman Islands. Hedlin finished the season with his best 10 km performance in Japan. “I felt confident going into the race and I executed my race plan just how I had intended. It was an amazing way to end the season.”
Born in Calgary, and raised in San Diego, California, Hedlin returned to Canada after high school to further his swimming career in Victoria. Hedlin now trains with coach Ron Jacks, who was named Coach of the Year – Male Open Water Swimmer.
The 2019 season will be an important one for open water swimmers – 10 men and 10 women will have the opportunity to earn a coveted spot in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim final at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by finishing in the Top 10 at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, Korea in July.
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