Markus Thormeyer’s ticket to a second straight Olympics is secured.
The 23-year-old from Tsawwassen is among six swimmers named to Canada’s Olympic team for the XXXII Summer Games in Tokyo slated to start in July. The COVID-19 pandemic interrupting training and decimating the competition calendar led Swimming Canada to invoke the ‘unforeseen circumstances’ clause in its selection process.
Thormeyer was the lone male swimmer to earn early entry to the Canadian team, joining Penny Oleksiak, Kylie Masse, Margaret MacNeil, Taylor Ruck and Sydney Pickrem.
The former Winskill Dolphins Swim Club standout was eighth in the 200-metre backstroke at the 2019 FINA World Championships. He had earlier made history at the Canadian Swimming Trials with a sweep in the 100-m, 200-m backstroke and the 100-m and 200-m freestyle. He broke the Canadian record in the 100-m backstroke and swam personal best times in the 200-m backstroke and the 200-m freestyle.The South Delta Secondary graduate participated in a relay event at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio when he was just 18.
The move allows Canada's top swimmers to tailor their training to peak for Tokyo.
"We wanted to give the athletes that we've named today the certainty to target those events that they are world performers in," Swimming Canada High-Performance Director John Atkinson told Canadian Press. "What we feel this will give our key world performers some certainly in a very uncertain world."
The Olympic team swimming trials, originally scheduled for April 7-11 at Toronto's Pan Am Sports Centre were pushed to May 24-28, and an additional qualifying meet there June 21-23 gives swimmers more chances to be among the 22 to 26 on the Olympic team.
It remains to be seen if the Toyko Games will even proceed after already being postponed a year.
Several reports of a cancellation began to surface this month when the Japanese government put Tokyo and other prefectures under a state of emergency order to counter a surge of rising COVID-19 cases.
Many believe the vaccination of Japan's 127 million citizens will be key to hosting a successful Games. But uncertainty around that is also growing in a country ranked among the world's lowest in vaccine confidence.
With files from Canadian Press