Jessica Breaks 1500m Freestyle Club Record at 2022 FINA World Cup

CW Website Admin

On the heels of her successful international debut at the FINA World Junior Open Water competition in September, 15-year-old Jessica Dreghici showed us why we were so excited to watch this young rising star swim with the world’s best and some of Canada’s fastest distance age group swimmers last weekend. On Saturday, October 29th at the FINA World Cup, Jessica swam the 1500-m Freestyle in a personal best time of 17:16.07 and smashed the Club Warriors short course open (all ages) girls' record! Racing in the fastest final heat against swimming phenom, Katie Ledecky, made this experience even more memorable, not only for Jessica, but also for the CW swimmers who travelled to Toronto to watch the event.

Head Coach Russ Franklin remarked, “Jessica was already nervous about swimming in this type of meet. The fact that there was a bus load of teammates coming to the meet to watch the competition made it special but more unnerving for her. And to top it off, we found out Saturday morning that she had been bumped up into the Finals -- yikes! She managed to handle it extremely well and went on to have a fantastic race, one which saw a new World Record in it.”

“That definitely -- I’m not going to lie -- added a little bit to the pressure,” Jessica recalled, “because I was thinking ‘Oh my goodness, I want to put on a good show for these people and I want to swim fast.’ But I’ve dealt with a little bit of pressure at high-level meets before and I did feel a lot of support coming from the team.”

“I was so happy when I walked on deck. They all came and sat at the top row and cheered and waved and smiled.” That moment was incredibly encouraging for Jessica who earlier had to deal with a last-minute schedule change.

“I was originally supposed to swim in the morning with the first heat of prelims at the end of the session. I did the warm-up, the activation.” Jessica and Coach Russ would later realize that, due to scratches, she would instead be racing in the evening. “There I was in Lane 7 swimming two lanes away from Ledecky!”

“It was such an honour. I could hear the announcer in my last 100 metres of my race, ‘Katie Ledecky … world record … broken!’ Oh, my goodness. I’m a part of history,” Jessica reflected, “She just broke the world record and I’m in the same pool as her!”

Jessica swam a fantastic race in spite of the pressures of this international competition and placed 6th in her heat and 7th overall in the event!

So, what’s next for this young Warrior?

Jessica explained her next goals are to get “under 17 minutes the next time I swim a 1500 short course … 16.59 … 57 … however far we can go. I love the distance idea of competitive swimming. I would love to make another Open Water team and represent Canada and represent the club again sometime soon in the future. I want to make Canadian Trials. I want to make Olympic Trials before Paris 2024. We’ll see how far swimming will take me.”

We are all so proud of you and excited to see how far you go, Jessica. Congratulations!

 


The FINA World Cup experience allowed Jessica not only the opportunity to compete at a high-level international event, but also to meet some of the best athletes in the sport who were incredibly gracious in and out of the pool. Jessica was thrilled when she was at the warm-down pool and Katie Ledecky recognized her as one of the girls who swam in her heat and that they were wearing matching suits! Jessica also met Canadian Olympic sensation, Maggie Mac Neil and had a group photo taken with her fellow 1500Free heat swimmers. Thanks for sharing these amazing photos, Jessi.

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