Olympics Summer

Canadian swimmer Taylor Ruck back to racing after skateboarding accident

Four-time Olympic medallist swimmer Taylor Ruck is prepared to make her return to racing after breaking her hand in April during a skateboarding accident.  CBC Sports has learned that Ruck will compete in the 100 and 200-metre freestyle events as well as the 100 butterfly at an international swim meet in Santa Clara, Cali., this weekend. 

Four-time Olympic medallist will compete at California meet this weekend

A swimmer in a black swim suit and smin cap smiles as she stands outside of a pool.
Canada's Taylor Ruck, shown here after winning the 200-yard freestyle competition at the NCAA women's swimming and diving championships this spring, has recovered from a broken hand suffered in a skateboarding accident. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Four-time Olympic swimming medallist Taylor Ruck is prepared to make her return to racing after recovering from a broken hand suffered during a skateboarding accident in April.

CBC Sports has learned that Ruck will compete in the 50, 100, and 200-metre freestyle events, as well as the 100 butterfly at an international swim meet in Santa Clara, Cali., this weekend. 

Swimming Canada high performance director John Atkinson says he talked to Ruck last week and says her recovery has gone well. He's also optimistic about Ruck  competing for Canada at the world championships next month in Japan. 

"She's been doing a lot of kick training. She's worked on this with her coach in Stanford and when I talked to her last week Taylor was in a very, very good place from a mental health perspective," Atkinson said. 

"She can go and race and get a real indicator of where she's at and I'll talk to her after the meet."

Ruck has played a pivotal role in Canada's relay success on the international stage at the past two Olympics and world championships.

Her last competition came in mid-March when she defended her 200-yard title at the NCAA championships. 

The 23-year-old from Kelowna, B.C., arrived in Toronto a week later with the intention of competing at the national trials at the Pan Am Sports Centre.

But just a couple of days ahead of trials it was revealed Ruck would not be competing.

"I need to put myself in the best position to perform to my goals at the Olympics next year," Ruck said in a statement released by Swimming Canada. 

"Right now that means I need to unplug for a little while, so I can come back refreshed and ready to be at my best in the pool."

In that same release Swimming Canada wrote that Ruck "found she was feeling exhausted after a busy season."

WATCH | Taylor Ruck opens up about mental health struggles:

Taylor Ruck opens up about mental health struggles ahead of aquatics worlds

12 months ago
Duration 3:06
She was just 16 when she made her Olympic debut in Rio, where she won two medals. One would think her journey to Tokyo last summer would have been straightforward. But the road to success often takes a toll and recovery from that takes time.

A short time after that she broke her hand in a skateboarding accident and has been recovering since then and training with her Stanford University head coach, Greg Meehan.

Ryan Mallette, Swimming Canada coach at the high-performance centre in Ontario, says he's not concerned at all about Ruck's ability to return. 

"I'm not stressed about her competing in any way," Mallette said. "The last I saw of her was at trials when she was feeling a little mentally drained. To me, the key part is that she's rejuvenated. That's more important to me. The injury is something that she can overcome."

Mallette said he's keen on seeing where she's at in her recovery while competing in Santa Clara this weekend. 

More than anything, Mallette says he trusts Ruck to give him a fair assessment on where she's at with just a month to go until the world championships. 

"No matter where she is this weekend she'll be further ahead in four weeks," he said. 

"I trust her honesty. If she's ready to go, she'll be ready to go. If she's not quite ready, she might say I'll give this my best go or I'm not ready. I trust her. I trust the athlete. I'm not going to put any pressure on her.

"She's doing her best to be ready."


Devin Heroux

CBC reporter

Devin Heroux reports for CBC News and Sports. He is now based in Toronto, after working first for the CBC in Calgary and Saskatoon.

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