After three years at the national level, Michelle Cruz has suddenly moved up to the podium. The "big" girls no longer intimidate this 16-year-old swimmer from Toronto. "I see myself as just as fast as the older ones, we're equal now." Michelle finished third in the 400 freestyle here and is looking for a spot on Canada's Junior team to Japan.
Her goals were modest at the start of the season, but as the year went on, Pan Pacs became a distinct possibility. "After Winter Nationals, where I got my first national medal (2nd 200 back with 2.11.66) and made the World championship team, I thought I could keep going. The Worlds were a really good experience for me."
"I've had a good training year. I like to train with the guys; it's more challenging. The training helped get my confidence up and now I can swim fast in heats." Confidence seems to be a byproduct of training and experience for Michelle. She has been a standout age group swimmer for the past four years. She follows in the footsteps of her idol Joanne Malar, who was also a top age group swimmer. "My goal is to make the Commonwealth Games team next year and then who knows." Indeed, the top is open for this determined young swimmer.