It was a long shot and in the end is was one of those close-but-no-cigar things.
National paralympic team member Jonathan Dieleman swam 1:52.11 to set a new Canadian record in the 100 breaststroke by over 12 seconds in the heats, but wasn’t quite so close in the finals and as a result did not qualify for the Pan Pacific team that will compete in Australia later this summer.
Dieleman, who swam to a fifth place finish in the Rio Paralympics, was recently placed in a different category which meant that he would have to swim some different events in future national and international competitions. For example, he now must swim the challenging butterfly stroke and a different form of the individual medley race.
Nevertheless, he decided to take a crack at making the team in the 100 breaststroke at the Edmonton trials. To now, he has had to swim the 50 breast and has been able to reach national and international records in that event, but he knew that swimming an event twice as long would not be easy.
— Jonathan Dieleman (@jhjdieleman) July 21, 2018
In the past he had been swimming with the Richmond Racers team but most of his training since January has been with the local Bulkley Valley Otters. At the same time, he has been able to take care of more personal matters such as getting his farm in Quick up and running.
His training had been going well prior to the Canadian Pan Pacific Trials and while the drops in time that he produced were a surprise to some, they were not completely unexpected.
As with all other Paralympic swimmers, he was re-assessed for his competition category and like many, he was placed in a different category than he had competed in before. With less than eight weeks to go before trying the event which was double the distance as before, some felt that he would be unable to perform at the same level.
In addition, some coaches feel that training in the shorter pool that is available in Smithers would be a disadvantage but local coach Tom Best disagrees.
“It’s all a matter of how fast and how well the swimmer performs on a regular basis in practice,” he said.
The times performed by Dieleman at the trials meet were in line with those he had been doing in practice. In addition, he was able perform at a new level in a different event.
“I was able to win a medal in an event I never won one before. I had a silver in the 50 backstroke,” he said.
In the future, he feels that he will also be able to perform well in the butterfly and the individual medley, events he has recently added to his training repertoire.
At the current time, Dieleman is ranked fourth in the world in the 100 breaststroke in his category but he and the national coaching staff decided that it would be better if he passed on this opportunity.
In the fall, he plans to swim with the Otters full time and help with some coaching duties.