June 18th, 2024

Uneasy week leads to Olympic team spot for Hess

By Lethbridge Herald on May 22, 2024.

Herald FILE PHOTO The Horns’ Apollo Hess carves the water to a gold medal during the 200-meter breaststroke at the Canada West Championship on Sunday in this November 2022 file photo. Hess swam his way on to the Canadian Olympic team.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

Local swimmer, Apollo Hess, will live out his Olympic dream this summer after qualifying for the Paris Summer Olympics for the Canadian swim team  at Olympic Trials last week in Toronto.

The Lethbridge swimmer, who is swimming out of the High Performance Centre in Toronto,  will be the lone Olympian in the sport in Paris from his hometown after finishing second in the 100m breaststroke by 0.33 seconds.

“It’s something that I’ve been dreaming about for so long and I still can’t quite put into words or  wrap my head around it,” said Hess.

“Last week I raced the 100 [breaststroke] on Monday the 13th and I didn’t find out I made the Olympic team until Sunday night. That whole week for me was pretty filled with anxiety I guess, and just nervousness, and stress and lots of nights of only a couple of hours of sleep.”

It was because of his second place finish that he to wait around to see if there would be a relay spots open.

Hess swam a personal best of 1:00.99 in the final.

“I know that before that race on Monday night, that was the best I’ve ever handled the pressure and the stresses of being in [a] big moment like that because there was so much on the line for me,” said Hess.

Hess raced the 200m breaststroke preliminaries on the Wednesday but was disqualified because he was called for doing two dolphin kicks on the third turn.

“I had high hopes for the 200 just as I had high hopes for the 100, and it really hurt me because I didn’t get a chance to even show what I could do in the 200,” he said.

“I thought I had something really special in store.”

Hess spoke about his approach with the Paris Olympics starting in a couple months.

“I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and now I can just train and truly just put everything in it without having any stress,” said Hess.

 “Obviously there’s still stress to perform and like not let my teammates down and what not. But for me I just feel like I’m in a much better place mentally going into the Olympics then going into any other meet.”

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