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Photo credit: Louis Lay: www.louislay.com

Victoria’s Jeremy Bagshaw is one of the top freestyle swimmers in Canada, having competed internationally at the 2017 Budapest FINA World Championships and the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Before that, the 26-year-old was one of the top athletes to compete in the NCAA. He swam for the University of California – Berkeley from 2011 to 2014. He helped Canada medal (bronze) at the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games in the 4 x 200-metre event.

Bagshaw began competing in the pool at age 4.

He was the fourth Canadian all-time to go under 3:50 in the 400-metre event with his 3:49.76. His 200-metre best is 1:47.48, just a little more than a second off of the national record currently held by Brent Hayden with his 1:46.40 from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Currently, Bagshaw is looking forward to the national championships and has his eyes firmly set on qualifying for and competing in both the FINA World Championships and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Christopher Kelsall: You have competed in all the big meets including the FINA World Championships, Commonwealth Games and World University Games, to name a few. You have had a couple of big years. The next step, of course, is the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Will your training change leading up to the qualification period for Tokyo?

Jeremy Bagshaw: My usual training schedule involves around 30 hours at the pool a week plus another two and a half hours in the gym. So a typical week involves about 32.5 hours of training. My training will stay quite similar to how it is now, however my coaches and I are looking for new ways to make a difference in my swimming within sessions. Having been in the sport for so long I know the things that I need to have in my weekly training schedule, but it is always important to incorporate new things, or I won’t make the improvements that I want. The hard part is finding new stimuli, but with the great staff that we have here in Victoria, we are usually able to think of new ways to achieving new improvements.

CK: Olympian and national record holder Ryan Cochrane is a few years older and now retired, did you have a chance to train with him here in Victoria and pick his brain?

JB: I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to train with Ryan for a few years. I was able to train with him during my high school years as well as when I returned home from University in 2015. It is an experience that has really shaped the swimmer that I am today. Working with him day to day I was able to learn a lot and appreciate the work that is required to become a great athlete as he is. It is not very often that athletes have the success and longevity that Ryan was able to achieve.

CK: The 200m and 400m freestyle events look pretty similar to the uninitiated, just one is longer than the other; can you explain the intensity difference?

JB: The 200m freestyle is more of a longer sprint that requires an equal mix of speed and endurance.  The 400m is a race that needs a bit of speed but requires much more endurance. I feel that the 200m is a much more tactical race since there is a wide range of how swimmers will swim this race.

Photo credit: Louis Lay: www.louislay.com

CK: What other sports did you play growing up?

JB: In middle school I played a bit of soccer and rugby, but once I reached eighth grade I decided to put all my focus into swimming. Unfortunately, swimming is a very time-consuming sport that requires double or sometimes triple workouts every day, so once I put my focus into swimming, I no longer had the means to pursue other sports.

CK: Anyone else in your family involved in sports?

JB: The reason I got into swimming was because of my older cousin, who was also a swimmer in Victoria.  However, other than him no one in my family has pursued sports to the same level that I have.

CK: In running and cycling there are alternative long runs and long rides to do, like trail running or mountain biking or long road rides – to develop the aerobic base – do you get out to the lakes for long swims or do you prefer the pool?

JB: I try to stay away from open water swimming. Even though it is still swimming it is almost a different sport. It takes a very different kind of swimmer to swim open water, I prefer to swim in the pool I have not really attempted it and don’t think I ever could.

CK: Do you get a sense of team camaraderie when racing relay competitions?

JB: I really do. Swimming is such an individual sport most of the time, that it is rare to get a real sense of camaraderie and it helps elevate performance. I am a swimmer that responds to this camaraderie very well. I find that my performances on relays are usually much better than in my individual events.

CK: Have you put any effort into other strokes, like butterfly or breaststroke? Clearly your best event is the 400m freestyle at this time, but do you get to enjoy the others?

JB: When I was younger I would race a wider range of events, swimming butterfly and backstroke. But in recent years I have moved to focus only on freestyle. As I’ve become an older athlete and raced at higher level international meets it is harder to experiment with other events since it takes so much time and effort to train just for the events that I am already focussed on.

CK: Ron Jacks was just inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame this year. Have you had a chance to talk with him over the years, he is pretty dedicated to the sport, isn’t he?

JB: He has been involved with the sport for such a long time and has worked with so many great athletes; it is an honour that is well deserved. I see him on the pool deck almost every day at Commonwealth Pool and some summers he has been on the same senior national team trips that I have also gone on.  I have had the opportunity to talk and interact with him at the pool quite a bit over the years. He has plenty of interesting stories that he has gained from his experiences in the sport and I always enjoy listening to them.

CK: What are your short-term goals?

Photo credit: Louis Lay: www.louislay.com

JB: Currently, the focus is on the Canadian World Championship trials in April. This meet is used as our qualification for the world championships in South Korea. The plan is to qualify for world championships this upcoming summer to prepare myself up for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.