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Special Episode: Cole Pratt - Post Olympic Trials Interview

Cole Pratt - Canadian Olympic Swimmer

Special Episode: Cole Pratt - Post Olympic Trials Interview. We spoke with Cole on his experience through COVID and his nomination to the 2021 Toyko Olympic Swim Team


The text that follows is an unedited excerpt from our hour long conversation. The full video interview can be found on our youtube channel and by the link here. The full audio can be found by vis the Spotify link below


All right. Good morning folks. And welcome to the on-deck show, a show that takes a look at people and organizations working every day to make things better for you and I. In this special episode, we check in with Cole Pratt, a recent nominee to the 2021 Tokyo Olympic team. We are not talking about one of those people doing things to make things better for you and me, although he impacts young swimmers and many communities around the country.


But we're talking to somebody who's benefited from one of those people. Who's working hard every day to make things better. Folks like you and me, and that's Dave Johnson in Calgary. We welcome Cole. Cole will talk to us about his journey, what he's looking forward to at the Olympics, and so much more. Stay tuned.


Good morning Cole. Thanks for joining us here. And congratulations on your recent nomination to the Tokyo Olympics. Yeah. So you know, I wanted to get into a few things, but first I want to, I like to start with, drawing a picture of who you are, where you've come from?


You're still a relatively young guy. You're a rookie on the Olympic team this year. Where did swimming start for you, and where do you see it going later on?


Well, swimming for me. I started with the Cascade Swim Club since I was probably four, I want to say, in the middle of the swim school program. And I did that for maybe a little while, and then I just moved up from group to group up until the senior performance group.


And from there, I went on to provincial teams and national teams, and now I'm on the Olympic team, which is why this is my first year. So I'm just happy to get off and get off the blocks a couple of times and see where I'm at. And then we'll see what the next couple of years have in store.

I'm hoping they just push it from here.


Sounds good. Do you do draw some inspiration from those closest to you? For example, do you have a sister that's traveling to Tokyo this year? Your older siblings were all accomplished athletes and so on.

So what is it like being in that environment? What's it like in the household?


The last couple of years have been I won't say nobody is that we're home. We always have to come back. Off doing something in the road, like my split there and I are gone for a week or a month time.


And that, that's, that comes with the, with what we do. And I don't know, I was asked that question a while ago and. I can't tell you anything more about what we got going on, but that's just that's with my family.


Yeah. Fair enough. Fair enough. And I know your dad and your mom as well.


So you know, like I know that they bring a lot of passion to the sport and so on. A bigger picture question in the next few days, you're about to leave for Vancouver for the staging camp to get over to Tokyo. What's it going to be like to represent Canada in Swimming as an Olympian?


Well, I've represented Canada before swimming at international meets. I went to The World Swimming Championships; I didn't have quite the performance I wanted there, but it was a good starting point. And ever since then, I've been really hungry to get back in the water and represent my country and, this year, I think I'll be a bit more comfortable in the environment. I'll be a bit more ready to perform. I believe representing your country is the biggest and the highest point you can even get to in your sports. So. I'm always honored to do that.

Fantastic. And you're certainly surrounded by a good cohort of young swimmers, both male and female.

And what's it like to be part of this emerging class of young talent coming up from across the country?

Well, it, it always makes me happy. Because the last like year or two. Many people like treating us like the younger and junior swimmers of the group, but what a couple of my friends and I showed everyone at college was like, we're not 16-year-old boys anymore where we're here mean business.


So we're, we're going to be up here. You guys better match us. So I think those performances at trials got us a lot more fired up, and I think it's going to carry myself and all the juniors, the younger boys. So we're going to clear that attitude now and throughout the summer, and in the future.


Yeah. You know, certainly very exciting to watch.


And tell me a bit about that 100 backstroke swim. Were you expecting that  out of that first swim?


Yeah. I don't know, I swam the morning swim and tried to do something. I couldn't quite get to it, but it was still all right. And then at night, I wanted to be, better and I wanted to get my hand on the wall first, but I was, I was happy to make the team, and it was the best time, but I feel like I still have a lot more in me. And swimming at the Olympics. So hopefully, doing that back a few more times, maybe get a little better each time.


Absolutely. A great answer and great attitude. I want to go back just quickly to what you mentioned when we were just talking about the younger cohort of swimmers.


You seem to take pride and not a disrespectful pride, but pride in the fact that you could respond to the challenge in front of you. The way you described it was almost as though as a junior on the team, somebody told you to wait your turn and instead of waiting your turn, you said, okay, I'm not waiting for it; this is my turn. And here we go. So you know, how much of that attitude comes by you naturally?


Well, it's been, it's been a lot of like build up a lot of when you're the young guy on the team with a bunch of the seniors, and you're, you're beating them a couple of times. So they'll, they'll be a little intimidated. They say things like, oh, I miss being your age because I could do anything when I was your age.

You earned the right.

The advantage on the International Swimming League in preparing for Olympic Swimming Trials

So, I saw that you recently do I call it drafted? I'm not sure what the proper lingo is, but you're officially on the Toronto Titans ISL team. Is this is your first year on the team?


This will be my second year. I swear in the, in the second season in the International Swimming League (ISL)

Awesome. So tell me a bit of it, I don't want to take the focus away from the Olympics. I think all things swimming is always exciting to talk about; talk to me about, in contrast to what you just said about being the young guy on the team; what's that like in an ISL environment where the game is a little bit different? It's about points. It's really about racing. It's just about getting your hand on the wall first points for your team and all that stuff. So what's that like?

I had such a great experience last time because when we were there, we weren't the young kids on the team. We were just another part of the team. And if you could, if you could pull your weight and if you could score points, if you could be reliable and you could be there for your team, nobody, nobody cared.


And it was, it was a lot different because you had people coming from Russia, the US, Brazil, and other places like the UK, all on the same team. So nobody really, nobody cared. How old you were. Everyone was new to it, and everyone was just excited to be there and compete for their team. I had a lot of fun.

That's fantastic. How do you take that experience and bring that into, you know, more of a traditional competition format where it's not about points; it's about medals and representing, you know, country and bribe, and so on. So how do you take that collaborative team experience and transform it into something that you can now use in this environment?


A few things I could take from ISL is, is to be more relaxed. Swimming is a game you, and it's a pretty simple game, but it's hard to do. All you have to do is go down together and then come back, but you have to do it well. And I think many people who went to the ISL will have a really big advantage going into these games because they know how to relax and learn how to play the game. So I think that's what I'm going to be, trying to carry it into these things.

Yeah. And I'm sure like being in the second season like we were in a bubble; you were some of the only swimmers that got to race intensively last year. That helped you in terms of, you know, dealing with Olympic Swim trials being pushed back three or four times and just needing to be ready. Literally. Here's your invite. Time to go now

And even having that race advantage, as we raced, I don't even know how many times you've raced but having, just getting off the blocks and racing other people and racing the best in the world is like such a huge advantage very few people had. But many people were still able to pull through and that's a great thing to see.


Wow. That's awesome. Turning back to the Olympics, you're about to head to Vancouver for your staging camp with the Canadian swim team and then off to Tokyo. What are you most excited about in the weeks to come? It doesn't need to be one thing. I mean, like, I'm sure there's a lot kind of pulsing by right now.


Yeah. Well, I'm excited to see my sister. I haven't seen her in a long time, so I'm thrilled to see her and compete for our country together. And, and it's my first Olympic team, I'm ready to go have fun and see what I can do. And w I'm on the same team with Bren Hayden it's I think it's going to be his last Olympics. And so hopefully I can have maybe a few memories with him and yeah,


That's pretty awesome. Well, Cole, we certainly want to wish you the best of luck. Go race hard. Represent yourself first, representing your country as best as you can as well. But regardless of what happens, everybody here is going to be proud of you. You've done a great job to get to this point, and we want to wish you all the best of luck. We'll be cheering for you.


And any final words, anybody, any young kids that might be watching in terms of, you know, the excitement you might be feeling or your journey to this point, or even just handling the last two years with COVID.

Just have fun with what you're doing. That's all you can do is love what you do. It makes everything easier. That's the best advice.


That's perfect. That's a great way to end this off as well. So, cool. Thanks for sharing your time with us. I know things are busy in the short window between trials and the Olympics.


Again, that's the block. Go have some fun and we'll be cheering for you. 

Thank you. All right. Thanks a lot again, pool. No problem. 


Thanks for watching. Have a great day. Make sure to check out www.oceanjunction.com for more.


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