Bartoch eyes another Olympics

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

It took a while for London's Joe Bartoch to make the Olympic Summer Games, but it was so much fun when he finally did make it, that he wants to do it again.

He's willing to do whatever it takes to get a second crack at it.

The butterfly champ qualified for the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. The result wasn't quite what he wanted.

The now 27-year-old London native wondered whether it was time to make significant changes to his life.

Two years after those Olympics, there have been significant changes made. He's returned to Western for his master's degree and he hasn't given up on swimming. In fact, he's undertaking change to his swim career in the hopes of making the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

"Coming off the world championships last year, the coach was looking at a lot of videos of me and comparing them to the rest of the world," Bartoch said. "I took a couple of more strokes than everyone else. It fatigued me later on in the race, especially the last 10 metres. We want to cut down on the amount of strokes I'm taking, so I can last a little bit longer and maintain my speed."

Bartoch has had some stroke changes before, especially when swimming in university. He has had this style for a long time and success doesn't come quickly.

He was a head table guest at the London Sports Celebrity Dinner and Auction and as he walked into the afternoon luncheon, his first response when asked how he was included, "right now I'm really slow."

"It's pretty difficult because I'm used to a certain amount of strokes per length and of course, you have to add the strength component and match it with your endurance so you're not falling apart everywhere in the race," he said. "It's really difficult because the butterfly is the hardest stroke because coming over the top of the water, you fatigue really fast. It's a long journey."

There's still plenty of swim left in Bartoch. In August last year, he was a member of a Canadian 4x100 medley relay team including Jake Tapp, Paul Kornfield and Brent Hayden that set a world record in 3:23.33 in England.

A world record was just another goal Bartoch wanted to accomplish in a career now operating on a year-to-year basis.

"I accomplished everything I wanted. I made the Olympic team and that was a seven-year goal," Bartoch said. "When I got to the Olympics and I didn't do so well, I was really in the mode to continue. Setting a world record as part of a relay team, that's a huge accomplishment. Not many people break a world record. I thank those guys and now I'm just doing it for fun. I'm going back to school. I can swim in the meantime and do my master's. I don't have to move on yet."

Bartoch said he gave coach Paul Midgley his first world record and would like to give him an Olympic medal.

"We'll see. A lot can happen in two years," Bartoch said. "It will probably be at the end of the year before we see how things are going . . . what you look for is perfection. We're perfectionists.

"Everybody thinks athletes are complacent and just making the Olympics is your goal. When you get there, sure it's fun, but every athlete wants to do well.

"You want to perform and be able to say you are one of the best in the world. That's what you work towards."

Morris Dalla Costa is a Free Press sports columnist.

morris.dallacosta@sunmedia.ca


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