Dols overtakes Gunning on route to Tokyo
After meeting the Olympics ‘B’ qualifying standard for the 200m medley recently, national swimmer Keanan Dols jumped ahead of Michael Gunning for the Jamaica Olympic Association’s (JOA) allocated spot at the Tokyo Olympics in July.
Dols clocked 2:02.15 minutes, a national record, at the Pro Swim Series in Mission Viego, California, on Friday.
But he is wary that Gunning, who remains in strong contention, could possibly move ahead of him again.
With that in mind he is focused on meeting the ‘A’ qualification mark before the June 27 deadline, so he can secure automatic qualification for the Games.
“I feel pretty good about my chances,” Dols told The Gleaner. I probably won’t be involved in any competition for about a month or so. My next meet on the schedule is the Atlanta Classic in mid-May and we are going to learn how we are going to approach it this summer in the lead-up.
“If I get the 1:59.00 minutes, that would automatically qualify me. Although the JOA, they will send one male, and the person that will be selected is the person with the best time, who has participated in the previous World Championships.
“I have made that (B qualifying mark) but Michael Gunning also has a number of chances to surpass me. He is doing well and I wish him all the best, but at this current point in time, I am in the position.
“The aim is to qualify automatically and I am confident I can,” he said.
Dols, who also holds the national record for the 200m backstroke, said although it was a frustrating 2021, his swim club, Gator, was able to keep its swimmers in training consistently and he believes all of the hard work is now bearing fruit.
“It was very frustrating last year, with everything with COVID, and I had some minor injury issues,” he said. “We were totally shut down and we didn’t have the pool for a bit but we were very fortunate to have a training group and we were able to get back into the water four or five times per week.
“It was a long and hard road but it was worth it and it is good to be going in the right direction.”
Dols says that it was pleasing to set a new national mark and go below his best time (2:03.74 minutes) for the first time in nearly three years.
“I was really happy,” he said. “I thought I was going to be right around where I am when I did the races, as I had a plan, and it was a very good overall race.
“I had the old record from 2018 and it was really pleasing to have gone below that time for the first time in two and a half years.”
Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica President Martin Lyn says the 22-year-old is on a positive path..
“We are very excited and very pleased as we see his times consistently dropped, and I am beginning to feel that by the time the Olympics comes around, he will be performing much better than this,” Lyn said. “He has been tapering toward that goal and he is well focused.”