Benjamin Gagne made his first for the Chicoutimi Swim Club last Saturday by becoming national champion in the 200-meter breaststroke at the Canadian Championships in Calgary. The day before, the 15-year-old swimmer won a silver medal in the 100-meter breaststroke clocking 1m07sec33.
“When we met in September, we talked about reaching at least one final and why not a podium at the Canadian Junior Championships at the end of the year. Even at the time level, we had bet on the goal to make a 2min26, the time he did in the final (2m26s34). It was the most optimistic goal and the highest and ten months later, we reached it, “said Mustangs coach Gaétan Dussart-Bay, who arrived at the beginning of the season after a few years as assistant with the Vert & Or program at the Université de Sherbrooke. His arrival coincided with a desire to focus more on performance at the club chicoutimien.
With his victory, Benjamin Gagne also earned his place on the distance for the next Olympic Trials in April 2020. “We will not be able to target a qualification yet, because we would have to finish in the top two. It will be a great experience for him, and in five years, for the next Olympic Games, we will try to get into these two first. Next year, it will be to gain experience, get as close as possible and see what is missing to reach a global level if we have enough work in the coming years “, argues Gaétan Dussart-Bay, who is returned on Tuesday with his protégé. After setting new regional records over both distances, Benjamin Gagné will now be allowed a few weeks off before starting the next season.
“We started in early September and it was a long season. It was his first big season. We take three weeks of rest and get back to work afterwards, “the coach said, adding that he will be looking for a spot on the Canadian junior team, which would allow him to participate in his first international competitions.
Mathieu Ouellet, from Club Juvaqua d’Alma, also took part in the national competition. He got his best result with sixth place in the 50 freestyle, setting a new regional record with a time of 24sec17.
Gaétan Dussart-Bay notes the progress of the entire competition team during the last season. “I am very satisfied with this first year,” he says, noting the four podiums on the AAA provincial circuit, including two by Benjamin Gagné.
“I did not expect to have such good results in my first year. I met good young people who responded well to my program. I put things in place and the kids were very receptive. Yes, we had Benjamin who did well on the national scene, but we also had good results at the provincial level, “says Gaétan Dussart-Bay.