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'Dream that came true': Area swimmer qualifies for Olympics

Alex Axon to compete in men's 4 x 200 metre freestyle relay at Paris games in July
Newmarket's Alex Axon has qualified for the Paris Olympics.

Newmarket's Alex Axon has swum competitively for years to pursue ever-greater heights.

The 20-year-old has continued to rise in the swimming world, winning a Pan-Am Games Bronze in 2023 and competing on Ohio State’s swim team. 

Ultimately, Axon said his goal was to compete for the Canadian Olympic team — something he will get the chance to do in Paris in July.

“Just so honoured and grateful that I’ll be able to represent Canada on the highest stage of sport,” he said. “It truly is a childhood dream that came true.”

Swimming Canada named Axon to the 29-person roster May 19. Axon earned the spot with a top finish at the men’s 200-metre freestyle at the Canada Olympic trials. Although he did not post a fast enough time to qualify for the individual event, he will get to swim as part of Canada’s 4 x 200-metre freestyle relay team.

Axon described the stress of competing at the trials in Toronto from May 13 to 19, which only comes once every four years. He previously earned two silver medals at long-distance freestyle events in 2021.

“The emotions were high. You could feel the tension throughout all the athletes,” Axon said. “I had to manage my emotions and ride those waves of anxiousness and nerves, but thankfully, I was able to get the job done, and I attribute that to a lot of the hard work over these last couple of years.”

The men’s 4 x 200-metre relay team did not qualify for Tokyo 2020 and Axon said he is excited to be part of the squad.

Team Canada’s Paris 2020 Chef de Mission Bruny Surin offers congratulations to all qualifying athletes.

“Their performances throughout trials this week have offered us several moments of intensity, where concentration, passion, and excellence were in the spotlight. It’s inspiring to see these athletes push themselves and always aim higher,‘’ Surin said in a news release. ‘’Their potential is undeniable, and I can’t wait to see Team Canada make waves to get on the podium in Paris.’’

Axon said he was so focused on just making the team that he had not thought about actually competing in the Games beforehand. But now he will be swimming with his Ohio teammates getting ready for the big competition.

“Getting into a really good final block of training before I head out to Paris,” he said.

Outside of the pool, Axon said he hopes to take in some tennis matches in Paris as its a sport he enjoys.

He thanked his hometown community of Newmarket for their support.

“I know Newmarket isn’t the biggest town, but I’m just happy I’m able to put it on the map a little bit.”