Meet Team Canada: Olympian swimmer Savard savours the varsity experience

Meet Team Canada: Olympian swimmer Savard savours the varsity experience

Leading up to the 2017 Summer Universiade taking place in Taipei City Aug.19-30, U SPORTS profiles the athletes set to don the Maple Leaf in our weekly feature series "Meet Team Canada."

 

By Dylan Konecy, U SPORTS Correspondent

The honour of competing at the international level is one of the highest honours in sport.

Then, every four years the world comes together to participate in one of the greatest spectacles of sport in the Summer Olympic Games.

Some athletes train their whole lives for just one appearance in the Olympics. To be an elite athlete, it takes the highest degree of commitment, hard work and discipline.

 One U SPORTS student-athlete who embodies these traits fully is currently away from the comforts of her home swimming pool at the CEPSUM in Montreal, striving to further develop her craft.

Université de Montreal Carabins swimmer Katerine Savard is a long way from home and school this summer, across the pond known as the Atlantic Ocean.

Over in Europe, she is competing with the best competition the world has to offer ahead of another  varsity season.

Before Savard even set foot on the U de M campus she was already an Olympian, having competed in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She’s since followed that up with medals at the 2013 Summer Universiade, 2014 Commonwealth Games, 2015 Pan American Games and the Rio 2016 Olympics, and has also competed in three FINA world aquatics championships.  

“Competing against the best athletes in the world – we are learning so much from the best and it helps me to get better,” Savard says. “There is also the fact that we are travelling a lot and we have the opportunity to meet new people from all around the world.”

This week, she is representing Team Canada once again at the worlds in Budapest, beginning Sunday until July 30, alongside a fellow Carabins teammate with whom she spent the season training with at CEPSUM – Jade Dusablon, a long-distance and open water swimmer.

Both athletes will also swim for Canada at the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei City next month, and are grateful to be a part of their university community in addition to their varsity teams. For Savard, studying at U de M meant keeping near familiar roots.

“Staying close to my family and friends was something important for me,” says Savard, who won seven medals at the 2017 U SPORTS Swimming Championships after a bronze medal performance in Rio last summer. “I am competing (in) varsity and (in) a club (team) and it offered me a different opportunity.”

For now, Savard competes outside of Canada, an opportunity she is thrilled with to take on the best athletes the world has to offer. And while she hopes to continue swimming for the national team, the U SPORTS veteran still has an eye on bettering her times at a different level.

 “My goal is to re-break my world university record, which I have since 2013,” says Savard heading into the Summer Universiade.

The Carabins swimmer set the mark set in the 100-metre butterfly four years ago in her FISU Games debut, a foundation the two-time Olympian is grateful was built as a student-athlete.

“I am learning so much from being on a university team. We have to swim for the team and not only for ourselves,” she says. “The varsity circuit in Canada is getting stronger and stronger and it allowed us to compete against the best athletes of our country.”

2017 Universiade Swimming Roster