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Monday, June 5, 2023
Sports: NOTL swimmer looks ahead after performance at Olympic trials
Niagara-on-the-Lake swimmer Peyton Leigh, left, with Olympian Summer McIntosh, who set two world records at the national trials last week. Supplied

Niagara-on-the-Lake swimmer Peyton Leigh registered some solid performances in the Canadian Olympic trials last week.

The 15-year-old competed in the national trials in Toronto in two events – the 200-metre butterfly and the 400-metre freestyle.

While Leigh didn’t qualify to represent Canada at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, she gained some priceless experience to help build on.

After shaving about a second off her personal best in the 400-metre freestyle last Tuesday, Leigh qualified for the evening’s final and then competed in the butterfly on Friday.

“I think I was a little bit anxious going into it, just racing at such a high level and I added a little bit of time, about 8/10 of a second, but I’m not super unhappy with it. I know what I can do better next time,” she said. 

Meeting one of her inspirations, Summer McIntosh during the trial events was also a big plus.

Leigh said that the 2028 Olympics is now “definitely a goal” but noted that there is lots to be done in the five years until then.

After a much-needed 10-day break after long days of preparation, Leigh will go back to the drawing board and plan ahead.

“I’m going to reassess my goals and see where I want to go from here.”

“I learned that I can naturally let pressure take over my swim and I get really anxious beforehand so I need to learn how to control that and realize that I’m swimming at the same level as everyone else,” she said.

“There’s no need to be intimidated.”

Peyton’s mom Christi emphasized just how proud she was of her daughter for making it this far at such a young age.

“We’re really proud of all she has accomplished so far and I think if she really wants to go to the Olympics later on, she’s going to need to practise and stay focused.”

Through it all, Leigh’s mom promises to be there and help, from transportation to emotional support.

“We’re there to support her, to drive her everywhere and to just help her along the way by giving her a big hug before races, after races and all in between.”

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