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Orillia swimmer golden, earns right to compete at Olympic Trials

Channel Cat swimmer Caleb Near won gold in 100-metre backstroke in Quebec; 'Winning ... was very exciting,' says talented teen
2019-04-24 Caleb Near Meredith Thompson-Edwards
Caleb Near and coach Meredith Thompson-Edwards. Photo provided by the Orillia Channel Cats

Orillia Channel Cats swimmer Caleb Near, 16, competed at The Speedo Canadian Eastern Championships held in Quebec at Université Laval.

Near had a very successful meet. He raced in the 100-metre backstroke, 100-metre freestyle, 50-metre freestyle, 200-metre backstroke and 50 metre backstroke, swimming best times in all but the 50-metre backstroke.

The local swimmer won gold in the 100-metre backstroke and set new long course club records in the 100 (58.57) and 200-metre backstroke (2:11.51). Near's 100-metre backstroke time enables him to compete at Olympic Trials in April 2020.

“We are pretty excited to be heading to Olympic Trials next year. Caleb just gets in and races regardless of who he is competing against," said his coach, Meredith Thompson-Edwards.

Caleb Near on his experience: “Winning the 100 backstroke was very exciting. I’ve proved to myself that I can do well on the national stage. I’m working hard to get ready for Olympic Trials next year where they will select International Teams. I’m thankful for all the support from my coach and team during these large meets.”

Near also finished with a fifth in the 50-metre backstroke (27.25), ninth in the 200-metre backstroke, 14th in the 50-metre freestyle (24.91) and 23rd in the 100-metre freestyle (55.14).

A great national level performance for Caleb and his Coach Meredith Thompson-Edwards.