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'Anything is possible': Local swimmer qualifies for Olympic trials

'I was introduced to the Georgian Bay Squall through her dad. I’m up there regularly and I love the area,' says Kurt Schubert
Kurt Schubert is a competitive swimmer with the Georgian Bay Squall and the Collingwood Clippers.

Collingwood Clipper and Georgian Bay Squall swimmer Kurt Schubert is heading to the Olympic trials in May.

The 28-year-old GTA resident has been swimming for years and has qualified for Olympic trials in 2016 and 2020. He started swimming with the Georgian Bay Squall masters team in 2022 after travelling to the area to visit his girlfriend, Jillian Philip, who lives in Wasaga Beach and also swims with the Squall.

“I was introduced to the Georgian Bay Squall through her dad,” recalls Schubert. “I’m up there regularly and I love the area.”

After getting impressive times at Squall events, he was encouraged by coaches to join the Collingwood Clippers as only times logged at official club meets are eligible for Olympic qualification.

“Originally, when I was getting back into swimming ... I wanted to start competing again in masters swimming,” says Schubert. “I was getting to a level where my times were getting competitive on a national level.”

“From there, I was introduced to the Clippers back in December,” he says, adding that in masters swimming, competition times don’t count toward Olympic trials qualification.

He qualified in January for the 50-metre freestyle and the 100-metre freestyle at Olympic trials. This will mark Schubert’s first time qualifying in the 100-metre category.

“I definitely feel more confident this time around. I’ve had a lot of help from the Squall coaches, and having that support. Everyone is so positive,” he says.

“I think my training has been going really well.”

A swimmer since he was 10 years old, Schubert qualified for the Olympic trials in 2020, but COVID-19 put the brakes on competing.

Schubert says he’s looking forward to giving the Olympics another shot.

“I was all set to compete, but then everything went crazy and they put restrictions on who could compete. It’s been in the back of my mind since – wanting to compete in another trial to see what I can do,” he says.

When asked what draws him to the sport, Schubert says the objectivity of the sport appeals to him.

“Everything is based off of times,” he says. “With swimming ... it’s black and white, on paper. You can track how you’re progressing. I’ve always liked the data that comes with it.”

Heading into the trials, Schubert says he’s feeling excited this time around.

“You always have to have hope that making the team is possible. In such a short race, anything is possible,” he says.

The Olympic trials will take place May 13-19 in Montreal.