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Newmarket swimmer competing on world stage

Maksym Klakov to race in the FINA World Cup, hosted in Canada for the first time in 20 years
20220927-Maxim swimmer-JQ
Newmarket swimmer Maksym Klakov will be competing in the FINA World Cup this fall.

Newmarket swimmer Maksym Klakov has been unable to do as much of what he loves the past couple of years.

With the pandemic sidelining competitive seasons, Klakov said he finished his career with the Newmarket Stingrays training to be ready for whenever he could race in the pool again. He got that chance this year by competing for the varsity team at the University of Toronto. 

But he will enter a national stage for the first time in years as he gets set to participate in the FINA World Cup Oct. 28.

“It’s nice to finally do something big again. I’m excited,” he said. “I missed the feeling of racing.” 

The FINA World Cup features racers from all over the world, competing in three legs in Europe and North America. Klakov will be competing when the competition comes to Toronto for a weekend, hosted in Canada for the first time in 20 years. The world cup also comes with a $1.2 million US prize pool. 

Klakov earned his spot at the event after a strong performance at the Summer Ontario Swimming Championships in July, where he earned a silver in the 50-metre freestyle and bronze in the 100-metre freestyle. He will compete in those disciplines for the world cup, his two best.

“It went well,” he said. “The season has been a little tough for me, getting back into swimming after COVID. I got there, and I swam well at provincials. It was good.”

But FINA will be a step up from any competition he has faced. After spending 13 years swimming for the Stingrays, he said this will be his first time going at a major event against fully grown, top-level competition.

It is a chance to learn, he said.

“There’s some ridiculously fast swimmers, world-class Olympians. I’m just excited to swim with them,” he said. “It's just going to be a great experience for me to warm up with these guys, see them, see how they race live.”

His old team will be there to back him up. The races go at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, with more than 2,200 seats in the gallery.

“The event is very special,” the Newmarket Stingrays said in a news release. “Maksym, the Stingrays are rooting for you and will be in the stands cheering you on.”

The swimmer came up with the Stingrays organization, only graduating in 2021. 

He said he got "so much" from being part of the local swim club.

“I learned a lot of discipline. I learned hard work. Getting up early in the morning, that was tough, but I knew I had to do it,” he said. “I had a lot of friends there. I had really good friends, and still keep in contact with them.” 

Beyond the world cup, Klaov is still swimming at the varsity level, competing with the University of Toronto. He said it has some additional challenges, managing his own swim schedules as he studies international relations.

“I’m getting used to it,” he said. “It’s 100 per cent me now.” 

But he plans to continue competing at the level, both solo and with a relay team. He also looks to compete in the national team trials in 2023 for the chance to swim for Team Canada.

“Hopefully, this year, everything works.”