When Lethbridge Pronghorns University swimmer Apollo Hess returned from Canadian Olympic trials in June, he did so with a rekindled love for his sport.
As the Canada West season began this fall, it began to translate clearly into his pool work and the U of L record books.
Good performance in early Olympic trials motivates Pronghorns freshman Hess to push for more
“I found a new inspiration or momentum, and I’m really looking forward to racing,” Hess said.
“I started the season by breaking the record for 200 individual styles, and then the following weekend, I broke the 100 breaststroke record and the 200 breaststroke record, and then the following weekend, I broke the 50 breaststroke record.” .
The record-breaking streak follows an Olympic trials performance that surprised even Hess himself when he finished fourth in the 200-meter breaststroke final and was just four seconds behind the Olympic time standard A.
That encounter left the 19-year-old with big goals, including the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
“There are times in athletes’ careers where they have a little more confidence in themselves, and he went through one of those times,” said Pronghorns head coach Peter Schori.
Olympics on the horizon for 3 swimmers from Lethbridge
Hess will first shift his focus to the short term, with the team set to travel to Edmonton this weekend for the 2021 Canada Western Swimming Championships.
Despite being a member of the Pronghorns last school year, Hess is technically in his rookie season after Canada West removed the no-contest eligibility requirements due to COVID-19 last season.
“The rookies are almost like super rookies this year,” Schori said.
“With that extra year, yeah, it’s a first year, but kind of a second year, and he’s really on the track that we thought he’d be at right now … We’d like to see him on the podium and maybe win a couple. of events.”
Hess will run individually in the 50, 100 and 200 meter breaststroke and 50 meter freestyle, as well as with his teammates in the 4 × 200 meter freestyle relay, the 4 × 100 meter freestyle relay and the 4 × freestyle relay. 100 meters. relay medley medley.
“For the strokes, I would definitely like to win. That would be the goal, ”Hess said.
Pronghorn senior brings overseas experience to West Canada rugby season
Hess, a dominant breaststroke, has the ability to take the Pronghorns relay teams to the next level, says Schori.
“It seems like in swimming, that’s the style where there’s a little bit more variation,” Schori said.
“Most freestylers from all teams will be in one second, but in breaststroke, a really good breaststroke could be four seconds ahead of another team’s breaststroke, so it has raised our relays a lot this year.”
Pronghorn eager to get back on the pitch after an extended extra hiatus in Western Canada
Beyond this weekend, the goal is for Hess to have a great year in 2022, hopefully, on the international stage.
“I think he will compete for a place on the world championship team in April,” said Schori.
“I think I have a good chance to be part of the team this year,” Hess said. “So that’s definitely the goal, and that’s what I’m working for every day.”
The 2021 Western Canada Swimming Championships is scheduled to begin on Friday in Edmonton.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.