Medal haul underlines swimmer's potential

 Medal haul underlines swimmer's potential

Brantford Expositor - Brian Smiley

Cam Kidd's suitcase was a bit heavier coming back from the 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships this month but he wasn't complaining about the extra weight.

In fact, the three bronze medals he brought back from Hawaii most likely made the extra heft much more bearable.

Kidd finished third in the 50-metre freestyle, and anchored Canada to third-place finishes in the 4X100 free and medley relays.

"This was my first international meet, my first time being able to represent Canada," said the 18-year-old, who is in his fifth year at St. John's College.

"By far it's the thing I'm most proud of."

This shouldn't be Kidd's last time racing for his country.

"He was swimming with future Olympians, which is appropriate because we think he's going to be one as well," said Mike Finch, who has coached Cam locally for the past 10 years, most recently as a member of the W. Ross Macdonald Silver Otters swim team.

The junior championship featured more than 300 of the best swimmers, aged 18 and under as of Aug. 27, from the U.S., Japan, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

Kidd qualified for the Pan Pac championships earlier this year at a meet in B.C..

"Because I had my best events lined up and I was going into the 50-m freestyle as the overall third seed, I was really expecting an individual medal, which I achieved," he said.

Kidd also was 11th in the 100 free and 13th in the 100 butterfly.

He missed a personal best in the 50m swim by two-one-hundredths of a second with a time of 22.69.

"I was immensely happy with the swim itself," he said.

"It was great to get to that time but . . . I feel like I could have done a little bit better."

Kidd, a national champion in the past, also was excited about the relay results.

"The way we had built the relays up, it was a lot of pressure on me to make sure I either held position or increased position against the rest of the field," he said.

"I deal well with pressure. I tend to swim a lot better with pressure."

Overall, Kidd said he enjoyed an "amazing experience" in Hawaii.

"It was one of the best couple of weeks I've spent with a team."

Kidd, a Paris resident, is now on a short break before the competitive season starts again.

After this year, he said he plans to go to the University of Toronto. He said he based his decision on the university's coaching staff and its academics.

"I really enjoyed what they were doing and what they focused on," the son of Ken and Andrea said.

Kidd said he is hoping to swim at the 2016 or 2020 Olympics.

"I'm hoping to do either well enough to make the 2016 Olympics or (do well) at the trials themselves," he said.

"But that wouldn't be the Olympic year I'd be essentially in my prime to perform at..

"The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, that's when I should be in the prime of my career and going there to really compete."

Finch said that Kidd has a great chance to achieve his Olympic dream.

"It's totally realistic," the coach said.

"Cam is one second away from being fifth in the world in the 50 freestyle. That's right now and he's nowhere near full strength."