They are young, passionate, and in the best shape of their lives. For some, the Olympic Games in Rio will be a first, and for others, they will be another chance to make their dreams come true, and even possibly to achieve glory. These two weeks of Games, during which anything can happen, have been preceded by incredible sacrifices that our Olympians and Paralympians have had to make: family, friends, love, and even some guilty pleasures! But for Hugo Barrette, Olympian Katerine Savard, Émilie Fournel, her brother Hugues, and the multi-medalist Benoit Huot, they are well worth it.
Katerine Savard, who ranks amongst the best Canadian swimmers, has not always been so enthusiastic about her sport. Following her mother’s advice, who was herself scared stiff of water, Katerine began to take swimming lessons at the age of 10. Despite her initial reluctance, she quickly fell in love with the sport, and also progressed extremely rapidly!
She qualified for the Rio Games in the 200m freestyle, as well as in the 4x200m freestyle relay, and will soon participate in her second Olympics. She was 18 when she participated in the London Games in 2012, during which she performed very well: she ranked 16th in the 100m butterfly, 19th in the 200m butterfly, and 12th in the 4x100 m medley relay. In 2015, she brought home the gold in the 4x100m freestyle at the Pan Am Games held in Toronto, in addition to winning the bronze medal in the 100m butterfly, and in the 4 x 200m freestyle.
Katerine, now 23 years old, is originally from the Québec City Region, but now lives in Montreal in order to train at the Olympic Park and to be able to swim with the Carabins of Université de Montréal. Her daily routine differs greatly from her peers, especially during the months preceding the Olympic Games. She trains two to three times a day, both in the pool and at the gym. To ensure optimal health during this intense period, she sees a doctor, an osteopath, a physiotherapist, a massage therapist and a nutritionist once or twice a week.
Despite her busy schedule, she finds time to pursue her studies and work towards her preschool and primary education teaching certificate. Katerine’s priority is to have a balanced lifestyle, therefore she makes the time to visit her family and boyfriend in Québec City during the weekends when she does not have any competitions. Her trips to her hometown allow the young athlete to refocus on her objectives and to enjoy good times with her family.
A few days away from the opening ceremonies, she tapers her training so as not to burn herself out, eats appropriately, and sleeps as much as possible. Katerine will be in top physical shape in time for Rio!
Competition schedule in Rio: August 8–9 — 200 m freestyle | August 10 — 4x200 m relay
Photo: Getty Images