This year, Luc Boudreau celebrates 10 years of competitive swimming, and the New Minas native says he has no plans to slow down anytime soon.
Boudreau, 21, is a fourth-year biology student at Acadia and the acknowledged anchor of the Acadia swim teams. Prior to entering Acadia in the fall of 2010, he had spent the previous six years as a member of the Wolfville Tritons.
Late last month, Boudreau attended the Canada Cup swim meet at the University of Toronto, where he captured gold in his specialty event, the 200-metre breaststroke.
His time of 2:15.07 in the preliminaries set a new AUS and Swim Nova Scotia record for the event, which he then shattered with a 2:11.88 time in the final later that day.
Boudreau finished the meet ranked number-one in both the CIS and in Canada in the event. He still holds the CIS record, but his Canadian record has since been beaten.
“I was fastest in Canada for about two weeks, until a guy from out west beat my time,” Boudreau said. “I’ll have other chances to beat his time.”
Asked if his attending Acadia after high school was a given, Boudreau said, “I never wanted to leave Nova Scotia, and I had it narrowed down to Dalhousie and Acadia.”
A big factor in his ultimate decision was “not having to change coaches.” Chris Stone, his coach with the Tritons, is also the Acadia coach.
“Coach Stone and I had always gotten along really well,” he said. “I’m close to home, but far enough from home to not be home.”
Boudreau has no regrets with his choice, especially as the Acadia teams have steadily improved each year since his arrival.
“By getting Luc, we got (fellow breaststroker) Justin (LeBlanc), and by having Luc and Justin, we’ve gotten just about everyone else we have,” including several other former Tritons, said Stone.
Both of Boudreau’s parents are Acadia graduates, he said, and “they’ve always had nothing but good things to say about the school.”
When he was younger, Boudreau “swam anything and everything going. I was still with the Tritons when I began to focus on breaststroke.”
Of all the strokes, he enjoys breaststroke the most, but admits he has a love-hate relationship with it.
“It’s one of the hardest strokes to train for. You have to swim as slow as you can as fast as you can,” he explained. “I love it. It’s a challenge, and I like challenges.”
Asked if he is surprised at the times he’s had this year, Boudreau said, “I like to think I work hard, and it’s nice to believe I’d get faster as time went on, (but) this year has been a bit surprising.”
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Boudreau qualified for the CIS championships as a freshman, and again in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. This year, he punched his ticket for what will be his fourth trip to nationals at the first conference meet of the season.
“Always for me, the biggest challenge at the CIS is making the finals,” he says. “Once you get into the final, all bets are off. It’s whoever races the fastest.”
The Canada Cup, his most recent meet, w as “the first national meet of the season,” he said. It was held at the University of Toronto, “which is where the CIS championships will be. A lot of CIS swimmers were there ‘to test out the pool’.”
Boudreau won the 200 breast. He placed seventh in 100 breast, earning a second swim, and 12th in 50 breast. He also swam the 50-metre freestyle, as he does at most meets at which he competes.
“I always enter the 50 free,” he says. “Most 50 free swimmers are a lot taller than me. I swim it as a fun event, to get me into the meet without too much pressure.”
“Continue to improve”
Asked where he would like to go from here, he said, “I want to continue to improve.” He planned from the start to do a four-year degree in five years, so he won’t be graduating in the spring and will swim a fifth season for Acadia in 2014-2015.
He’s not sure what will come after graduation.
“I really don’t know yet what I’ll do. I’ll see where I am with my swimming, maybe take a year or two off before starting a Masters program.”
Asked if the Olympics are on his radar, he admitted he hasn’t really thought about that.
“The Olympic year would be (2016). If I wanted to, I could attend the Olympic trials, the year after next, and see what happens,” he said.
To do that, he would have to continue to train at the level he’s at now, or higher, for the next two years.
“I wouldn’t be able to swim for Acadia for more than five years, but I would be able to swim with the Tritons,” he said.
Boudreau is interested in marine biology, which is what he would take a Masters degree in.
“I’ve always said I’d like to live somewhere warm, for at least a couple of years. I may go to Australia or somewhere and see what jobs are available.”
As for swimming, he says, “I’ll probably always swim a little bit,” though maybe not competitively. “I don’t think I could ever stop completely.”