The distance between San Diego, California and London, England just got a whole lot smaller for Canadian racewalker Rachel Seaman.
The Peterborough native qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London on April 22 at the German Racewalk Championships in Naumburg, Germany, beating the Olympic qualifying time by 25 seconds. Seaman’s time of 1 hour 33 minutes and 5 seconds not only sets a personal best for the young racewalker, but sets a new Canadian record in the 20 km distance which she held as well.
“I knew I had it at the 15 km mark,” commented Seaman from Germany.” I would have had to crash pretty hard not to hit it.”
Seaman has had two previous attempts this racing season in Hunting Beach and Portugal to hit the Olympic standard, but situational stresses and environmental race factors forced her to decide to drop out of both races and save it for the race in Germany.
“I wanted to get (the standard) as soon as I could and not kill myself chasing it for the rest of the season,” stated Seaman.
The Naumburg site is one that has a history of good results for Seaman. The racewalker was three seconds off the qualifying time in September of 2011 in Naumburg, finishing third. This year’s results saw her finish three seconds off the lead, crossing the finish line second after event winner Sabine Krantz.
Despite Seaman’s obvious talent for the sport, racewalking was never Seaman’s first choice when it came to track and field.
“I really didn’t want to do it,’ said the 26 year old.” It’s kind of funny to watch.”
Originally aspiring to be a hurdler at 15yrs old, Seaman was noticed by Peterborough Legion track coach Richard Borek when she was making fun of her sister during training. Her older sister Rebecca was a race walker as well.
Rather than chastise her, Coach Borek took the time to point out to the hurdling hopeful that she had all the makings of race walker as well. A fitting comment as the girl’s parents was both distance runners as well.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Now that qualifying is off her mind, the new Olympian will have some time to enjoy the rest of her season and focus on her training leading up to London 2012. She will spend the next two weeks in Germany before departing for another race in Russia. She will then return home to San Diego to her husband Tim, who is a two time US Olympic racewalker and track coach.
Seaman will be making a final stop in Peterborough for her sister’s wedding this summer prior to leaving for the Canadian team’s training site in Germany to prep for the Olympics which run from July 27th to August 12th.
Seaman’s training and progress can be followed on her blog ‘A racewalker’s journey around the world’ at http://www.rachel-seaman.blogspot.ca.