Tess Cieplucha adds her name to the Canadian Olympic Team roster representing Canada at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics
The Canadian Olympic Swimming Trials was held at the Pan Am Pool in Scarborough, Ontario from June 19 to June 23, 2021. The Trials had been postponed 3 times and were finally being held just one month prior to the Olympics. The pandemic has affected everything, and swimming is no different. The meet was held in a unique format - invited athletes (Top 100 in Canada only - normally 800), no spectators, stripped down racing format, and extreme COVID protocols in place.
Due to the pandemic and not knowing whether the trials would take place, six athletes were preselected to the team. One of those swimmers was preselected to the 400m Individual Medley and the prelims qualifying race had been removed from the format. In the 400m IM each swimmer swims all four strokes – butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle.
Tess had one shot at one available spot, while trying to achieve the Olympic Qualifying ‘A’ standard.
In a very tight race Tess held the lead at the end of the backstroke and breaststroke legs and was now coming home in the freestyle just ahead of Olympian Sydney Pickrem. In a photo finish Tess was out touched at the wall finishing a close second, missing first place by .23 of a second. Tess did achieve the required Olympic ‘A’ standard clinching her spot on the Olympic team.
“Making the Canadian Olympic team has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. Swimming is such a mentally, emotionally, and physically demanding sport, and it takes years of preparation and countless hours in the water to get that one swim exactly right on the day you race.” says Tess Cieplucha.
“I am extremely proud and honoured to race this summer in Tokyo at my first Olympic Games representing Canada. This swim proved to me that even the biggest goals are achievable if your put your mind to it and believe in yourself. I can’t wait to race this again in Tokyo! Let’s Go Team Canada!”
The swim team will be heading to Vancouver for a two-week staging camp prior to arriving in Tokyo.
Tess will continue to compete right after the Olympics as part of the Toronto Titans professional swim team in the International Swim League (ISL). The league is holding a condensed five-week bubble style tournament in Naples, Italy at the end of August. The ISL is made up of 10 franchise teams from around the world (4 European, 4 USA, Japan, and Canada), approx. 320 athletes in all. Each team includes members from across the globe, many of them Olympians.
Tess is the reigning Pan American Champion in the 400m IM for Team Canada, which she won in Lima, Peru held two summers ago. Tess plans on continuing to train in Knoxville with the Tennessee Elite swim group under University of Tennessee head coach Matt Kredich.
Navigating the pandemic Tess came home in January due to travel restrictions and was fortunate enough to continue her training with Markham Aquatic Club and her old coach Sean Baker. She did her dryland training, on her own, in a friend’s garage.
Prior to the onset of the pandemic, Tess had come off a very successful collegiate career as a member of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols Swimming and Diving Team. Tess was undefeated and held the fastest time in the NCAA regular season for the 400m IM. She was the 2020 SEC Champion winning the 400m IM at 2020 SEC Championships held at the Auburn University in Alabama February 2020. Tennessee Volunteers Women’s Swimming and Diving team won the Women’s overall SEC Championships for the first time in University history. Tess received 8-time All-American honours during her collegiate career however, unfortunately due to the pandemic, the 2020 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships were cancelled.
In addition to her training, Tess is a recent graduate of University of Tennessee, Knoxville earning her degree, a double major in Environmental Sciences and Geography.
AGSI has known Tess from a very young age, and we have enjoyed the stories her dad, Janusz - AGSI’s Creative Director, has shared with us throughout her journey. We are all so excited to see her compete in next month’s Olympics and will be sending her our cheers, energy, and hopes for another personal best and success for Team Canada!
Go TESS Go!!
Follow Tess on Instagram: @tessciep
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