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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Joshua Liendo named 2022 Canadian Swimmer of the Year a week after his NCAA sweep

Liendo became fifth-fastest swimmer ever in the 100-meter butterfly

Florida freshman Joshua Liendo competes in a swimming event.
Florida freshman Joshua Liendo competes in a swimming event.

Florida freshman Joshua Liendo’s list of broken records just keeps getting longer after each meet. 

Liendo — who was fresh off his National Collegiate Athletic Association’s titles — traveled to Toronto, Ontario, from March 28 to April 2 for the 2023 Bell Canadian Swimming Trials.  

“I mean this pool is where I set my first junior national record, my first senior national record. And then I just keep getting it done in this pool,” Liendo said in an interview with CBC Sports. “It’s good to be back.” 

Liendo left the NCAAs with four All-American honors and the fastest 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly time ever by a freshman. 

He became the only swimmer ever to record a less-than 43-second time in his 400-yard medley relay. 

“That meet was wild. It’s a high-pressure meet,” Liendo said. “I think I handled it well.” 

Liendo began the Canadian trials by breaking his own Canadian record twice in the 100-meter butterfly. 

He broke his previous record by 0.10 seconds to clock a final time of 50.78 seconds in the preliminaries. 

Liendo refused to slow down in the evening A-final for a record-shattering time of 50.36 seconds. He surpassed his own national record by four-tenths of a second.

“I want to keep going,” Liendo said, “I want to keep getting faster.”

The Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre was filled with cheers from his parents and hometown crowd. 

“I have the fans and the crowd and the staff that’s been here in Toronto welcoming me back, even though I’ve been gone for a little bit like I haven’t missed a day,” Liendo said. "I couldn't have done it without them.” 

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Canadian swimmer Brent Hayden holds the national record for the 100-meter freestyle with a 47.27-second time. Liendo aimed to beat the record but fell short with a final time of 47.86 seconds. 

“I know it’s coming,” the Gator said after his sub-48-second trial. “I can get that record, but obviously I was feeling it a little on that backend.” 

The 20-year-old then posted the fastest time in the world this season in the A-final of the men’s 50-meter freestyle with a 21.80-second time.

“I just made sure I had a good start,” Liendo said after his new 50-meter record. “I just raced - one lap.”

Liendo’s performance built confidence within him for the Canadian men’s team’s performance at the upcoming World Aquatics Championships in July. 

“We’re coming. I mean we’re not coming, we’re here now,” he said, “I think at worlds this year, we’re going to shock a lot of people.” 

Liendo won individual bronze in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle events at the Abu Dhabi world championships in December 2021. He also was part of the 4x50-meter mixed relay that won gold.

In the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, he won gold in the 100-meter butterfly and bronze in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay. 

“Last year obviously bronze and silvers, but the goal is to be at the top of that podium,” he said. “I'll keep working, and I’m going to keep fighting till I get there.” 

Contact Krisha Sanghavi at ksanghavi@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @krishasang.

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Krisha Sanghavi

Krisha Sanghavi is a third-year public relations and economics major. In her free time, she loves cheering on Miami sports teams and spending time with her friends.


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