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UVPCS goes 1-2 in the 5km Open Water Trials!

UVic-Pacific Coast Swimming (UVPCS) swimmers Eric Hedlin and Jon McKay made an impressive showing at the 2023 Canadian Open Water Trials, held recently in the picturesque Cayman Islands. Hedlin, who had already earned Silver in the 10km on Saturday, took the first spot in the men's 5km race Sunday morning, while McKay finished in second place to take the top two podium spots for UVPCS.

Hedlin, who is originally from Victoria, British Columbia, has been a member of the Canadian national team since 2013, and won silver and bronze medals in the 5km race at the 2013 and 2019 World Championships. McKay, who finished in the top-25 in the 2019 Open Water World Championships 10km race, came back to the sport late last summer after retiring in December 2022, and has come a long way to get back to competing at such a high level again.

The Canadian Open Water Trials attract top swimmers from across the country, and the competition is fierce. Hedlin and McKay were able to out-swim their competitors, demonstrating the skill, endurance, and determination required to excel in open water swimming. Dropping the rest of the swimmers before the end of the first 1.25km laps, only Ilya Kharun (200 Butterfly Specialist of recent fame) was able to fight his way back to racing alongside Jon and Eric halfway through the second lap, before again fading off of their strong pace before the end of that same lap.  Jon and Eric fought side by side until the final 200 meters, when Eric pulled ahead to the finish.

In the women's 5km race, UVPCS swimmer Chantel Jeffrey finished in eighth place. While not a podium finish, Jeffrey's performance was still impressive given the high level of competition.  UVPCS teammate Elijah Agostinelli-Stull also competed in the 5km race, finishing in eighth place. This was Agostinelli-Stull's first Open Water Trials, and his performance bodes well for his future in the sport.

Overall, the UVPCS team had a strong showing at the Canadian Open Water Trials, with Hedlin and McKay leading the way. Their performances demonstrate the high level of skill and dedication required to excel in open water swimming, and their success bodes well for the future of Canadian swimming. Congratulations to all the swimmers on their impressive performances!