SWIMNEWS ONLINE: March 1998 Magazine Articles

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Personality: Jessica Deglau

Deglau Dominant Swimmer At Speedo Winter Championships


Karin Helmstaedt

The meet announcer likened her to an Energizer battery...she just keeps on going and going. He might have added, "and smiling and smiling."

At almost 18, Jessica Deglau's sunny disposition is only one reason she stands out in the crowd. One of the hottest numbers to come out of what Dave Johnson calls the "first wave" of talent after 1994, she is the mainstay of the successful Pacific Dolphin Swim Association.

In her three years on the national team, Deglau has been to all the biggies...Pan Pacs, Olympics, short course worlds, Pan Pacs again, and most recently the world championships in Perth. Not to mention a long string of international competitions from the World Cup to the U.S. Open. All that makes for lots of experience, and a necessary durability.

After setting a Canadian record in the 200 fly (2:11.26) in Perth-a performance that placed her 6th-Deglau was part of the 4x200 free relay that also established a Canadian record (8:05.59) to finish 4th.

Coming home to the Canadian Nationals was a let-down for some, but not for Deglau. She powered her way to four individual golds, in a string of events as diverse as they are challenging (100 and 200 fly, 200 and 400 freestyle) using the support of a large team to maintain her momentum.

100 fly medallists Evanetz, Deglau, and Howard
Click image for larger photo. Photo © Marco Chiesa

"Our team has been looking forward to these nationals all year," she said in Winnipeg. "Our coach (Tom Johnson) says that to make it to Commonwealth Games you can really set yourself up here, get established."

Not that she needs to worry about that, as her performances in Perth earned her an automatic selection in those events for Kuala Lumpur.

"It's different because it's not a 7-day affair. It's a whole bunch of different efforts instead of one thing that you're focused on," she added.

Of her experience at the worlds she commented, "I had a really good time. The Australians are so into swimming, it made it really exciting. Even at the World Cup (in Sydney), the stadium was full. There were so many people." And so much going on. "I remember being in my room with Laura Nicholls when we heard about the Chinese swimmer getting caught (with growth hormone), and we were so shocked. And then when the others tested positive, it seemed weird that it wasn't only the women (using drugs)."

A layer of naivete removed, she concedes, "It's frustrating that we have to swim against them, but we have to do it and just tell ourselves that it will get better. It makes me laugh when I think that I've been tested three times in the last two months. But I have no problem with that."

Another smile. Deglau has more than mastered the diplomacy necessary under such conditions. And proved that, as Canada's top bid in her events, she belongs on the world deck.

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