When Tara Sloan arrived in Glasgow for her first international competition, she was "in a bit of shock."
Sloan was part of a small contingent of Canadian
women that came onto the World Cup circuit in Scotland. "I was kind
of distracted with all those fast swimmers around," she said.
But it didn't take long for her to count herself
among "all those fast swimmers." After two bronze medals in Glasgow,
Sloan made the tight 6-lane final in the 100 breaststroke in Gelsenkirchen
and swam a Canadian record of 1:07.96.
"I didn't expect to swim quite so fast,"
she said. "It's been a big learning experience for sure, and I was
able to use the little bit that I learned in Scotland for the races here."
Her coach, Mike Blondal, was extremely satisfied
with this year's World Cup. "This is world level swimming," he
said, "and we need to swim at that level more often. The objective
was to come and experience that and I think our girls have done really well.
Tara's done best times in everything."
The 17-year-old Sloan is a high school student
in Calgary with artistic tendencies. "I'm interested in music,"
she said, "and other completely different things, like natural medicine."
Despite her good results, Sloan was happy to go home; her first tour had been "long enough" and it was time to savour it all in her own surroundings.