Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/11/2020 (332 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Kelsey Wog cemented her reputation as one of the world finest breaststrokers with a memorable performance during the International Swimming League’s 2020 season.
The 22-year-old Winnipegger competed in more than two dozen races against the best swimmers in the world over the last month in Hungary, where the ISL, a pro circuit in its second season, hosted its entire 2020 season with a condensed schedule beginning Oct. 16.
"The best experience I’ve ever had," said Wog by telephone of her time in Budapest. "It was just really unique racing the best in the world so many times and I’m really grateful that I was able to pull this off during the crazy times right now."
Wog was a member of the Toronto Titans, who were eliminated from the ISL team playoffs after Monday’s semifinal round.
On Monday, Wog finished seventh in the 100-metre individual medley with a time of 59.65 seconds, 1.79 seconds behind winner Beryl Gastaldello of the Los Angeles Current. Wog also placed fifth in the 100-metre breaststroke, clocking a time of 1:05.10, which was 1.81 seconds behind Lilly King of the Cali Condors.
On Sunday, the University of Manitoba student finished second behind King in her signature event — the 200-metre breaststroke.
U of M Bisons swim coach Vlastik Cerny said Wog, ranked fourth in the world in the 200 breaststroke earlier this year, continues to improve in competition.
"Particularly in terms of just being able to race at a very high level in back-to-back races and especially the 200 breaststroke," said Cerny. "In the 200 breaststroke she won the race four times here in Budapest and then (Sunday) was a second-place finish behind Lilly King, who’s an Olympic champion in 100 breaststroke.
"Out of all of the breaststrokers here, the only people that were faster than her were Lilly King and Annie Lazor, who’s from the London Roar."
Facing the world’s best isn’t quite so daunting now.
"I see them a lot, so it just kind of feels normal now," said Wog.
With the major competition complete, Wog will return to Canada later this week to resume workouts.
National team members are expected to travel to Calgary, where they will be permitted to train for two weeks. After that, with Manitoba operating under code-red restrictions during the pandemic, the future is uncertain.
"Well, I’ve just got to get back at training," said Wog. "I don’t know where or when or how I’m going to train because there’s still so much happening with COVID, but I know that Vlastik will help take care of me and I’ll be able to get in the pool and train."
There are no major competitions scheduled between now and the Olympic Trials in April.
"We don’t know what’s going to happen in Winnipeg," said Cerny. "We’ll either continue the training in Calgary and if Winnipeg opens up for training (we’ll do it there). In Alberta, even though they shut down for some of the sports programs, they are allowed an exemption for national team athletes.
"We have to train one person per lane, so the right physical distancing has to be maintained."
Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.