On the biggest stage of his life, Rhys Marlatt competed against fellow 13-year-old swimmers from across the country at the Canadian Age Group Swimming Championships in Montreal at the end of July.
Marlatt, a member of the Cranbrook Triton Swim Club, hit the water for five events, setting personal best times in three of them.
The young swimmer placed eighth in the 50-metre backstroke with a personal best time of 31.85 seconds and earned the same result in the 50-metre butterfly with a time of 28.80 seconds.
Marlatt also competed in the 200-metre backstroke, the 100-metre backstroke and the 200-metre freestyle.
“It was amazing,” said Marlatt. “I was pretty nervous at the start, but you just get used to it and make friends.”
Marlatt was able to pick and choose his five events, with his coach, Dave Chisholm, signing him up before a deadline.
“It was interesting,” said Marlatt. “I like competition though, and the harder the competition, the more it drives me towards going faster.
“At a lower meet, an easier meet where there isn’t as much competition, I don’t go very fast. But when there’s a lot of competition, and really hard competition, I go a lot faster.”
It was a long road for Marlatt, who had to post three different results to satisfy the qualifying requirements in order to be eligible for the event. He posted his first two qualifying times a year ago, and squeaked in the final one at a provincial swim meet in July.
“That’s three, which is new, because last year, you only had to qualify for one time,” Marlatt said. “Now there are a lot less kids there [at age group championships] because they made it a lot harder.”
“…It was a goal I had for a long time this year. I never thought I’d actually make it, but my coach did.”
Marlatt nailed his third qualifying time at provincials even though he was in the middle of recovering from an injury to his right arm.
“Leading up to provincials, I had a lot of challenges,” said Marlatt, “so I probably would’ve trained a lot harder this year, before provincials and for nationals, but I didn’t have the chance to.”