She’s 18 with big plans, but before Jasmine Foran goes off to conquer the swimming world, she hopes to raise a few eyebrows this weekend at the U Sports Canadian university championship at the University of Toronto.
Foran is one of five Memorial Sea-Hawks swimmers at nationals, and she brings with her some impressive results this season, her first at MUN.
The 18-year-old product of Bathurst, N.B., was named the Atlantic University Sport conference’s female rookie of the year two weeks ago, and followed up that award with four individual gold medals at the AUS championship in Saint John, N.B.
Foran was first in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke, and 200m individual medley in Saint John, in addition to winning a silver with the Sea-Hawks’ women’s 400m medley relay team and bronze medals with the women’s 400m and 800m freestyle relay teams.
Earlier in the season, she won gold and posted U Sports qualifying times in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke events at the Kemp-Fry Invitational meet hosted by the Dalhousie Tigers in Halifax, and earned first-place finishes in the 200m IM, as well as the 50m and 100m breaststroke races at the Dalhousie Invitational.
On top of that, she won silver and bronze medals in relays at both meets.
Foran also established a new AUS 100m breaststroke record this year.
“She’s definitely a talent,” said Memorial coach Duffy Earle. “She brings a lot to the pool in terms of her athletic ability coupled with her training habits.
“We expected her to be in top three in all of her events, and she raced really well. It wasn’t a surprise.”
Foran actually wasn’t supposed to be a Sea-Hawk, but rather a Pronghorn. The University of Lethbridge (Alberta) was hard after the New Brunswick product, who swam nationally for her province at age group and Canadian senior championships.
But when it came time to sign on the dotted line, Foran backed off.
“I didn’t like the fact they wanted me to sign a contract saying I had to stay there for five years,” she said. “And if I did go to another school, the contract said I couldn’t swim there.
“If I didn’t like it there, I’m still stuck there for five years. I couldn’t agree with that.”
In the meantime, Memorial — under coaches Earle and Chris Roberts — had expressed an interest in Foran, and kept in contact with the six-foot swimmer.
“I had known them for maybe four or five years, and Chris sold me on Memorial and Newfoundland, that it was great and a lot of fun. And the school is cheaper, too, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
“And I do love the environment. I love everything about St. John’s right now.”
Foran did say the powerhouse Dalhousie Tigers approached her last summer, as well, but by then she had committed to MUN.
“It is a lot more expensive to go there, and I just told myself that if I don’t like it at Memorial, I could always go somewhere else like Dal.
“But I love it here, and I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere else, even though Dal’s team is a lot bigger and stronger. That won’t change my mind. The team here is awesome, and we’re actually getting stronger. Even though we’re losing a lot of people this year, there’s a lot of good first-years coming in next season.”
Foran hopes to go as far as she can with swimming, and isn’t writing off a crack at Canada’s team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“My team back home isn’t very strong,” she said. “Until I came here, I hadn’t really done any weight training. Since coming here, I’ve gotten stronger and it’s made me a better swimmer.”
No doubt, she’s prepared to put in the work. In addition to being in the pool every day (she will take a day off after meets), she usually hits the gym three to four times a week to lift weights and get some endurance work in on the treadmill.
“In the end,” she said, “it will only help me be a better swimmer. And if that’s what it takes, I’ll do it.”
Four of the five Memorial swimmers in Toronto this weekend are female, with Mount Pearl’s Sam Leawood the lone male, and taking part in the national championships for the final time in his collegiate career.
Also representing the Sea-Hawks are Veronica Reid of Williams Lake, B.C., Allison Somers of Carbonear and Laura Pittman of St. John’s.
Event list for Sea-Hawks
Events in which Memorial Sea-Hawks Jasmine Foran, Veronica Reid, Allison Somers, Laura Pittman and Sam Leawood are competing at the 2018 U Sports championships:
100m breaststroke – Foran, Reid
50m backstroke – Pittman
100m fly – Leawood
400m free relay – Foran, Reid, Somers, Pittman
100m backstroke – Pittman
50m fly – Pittman, Reid
50m fly – Leawood
200m breaststroke – Foran, Reid
50m free – Pittman, Foran, Reid
50m free – Leawood
800m free relay - Foran, Reid, Somers, Pittman
50m breaststroke – Foran, Reid
200m backstroke – Pittman
100m free – Leawood
100m free – Pittman, Foran
400m medley relay - Foran, Reid, Somers, Pittman