Josh Liendo, Canada’s Male Swimmer Of The Year, Focuses On Small Details To Get Faster
After putting himself in the big picture of competitive swimming, Joshua Liendo is now concentrating on the small details, Swimming Canada reports
The 21-year-old from Toronto stood on the podium at national and international events in 2023. Proud of his success so far, Liendo is fine tuning his training and technique as he prepares for this summer’s Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
“It’s the small victories,” Liendo told the Player’s Own Voice Podcast on CBC Sports. “Getting the little things right, the little details I’ve got to focus on.
“Whenever I’m able to nail the little things, and I’m able to make little improvements, that feels good.”
Liendo earned a silver medal in the 100-metre butterfly, breaking his own Canadian record in the process, at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. He also was part of the 4×100-m freestyle relay that finished fifth, and the 4×100-m mixed medley relay that finished sixth, putting both relays in excellent position to qualify for Paris. Individually, he qualified for the 50-m freestyle final, but scratched to focus on the 100 fly. He finished 14th in the 100-m freestyle semifinals.
Swimming Canada has acknowledged Liendo’s achievements by naming him the Olympic Program’s Male Swimmer of the Year. Liendo also won the award in 2022, after winning medals at both the world championships and Commonwealth Games, and was the Junior Swimmer of the Year in 2021.
Liendo is in his second year at the University of Florida with coach Anthony Nesty after training under coach Ryan Mallette at the High Performance Centre – Ontario. Swimming Canada High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson praised the young star’s accomplishments for Canada.
“Josh fully deserves this award having medaled at the 2023 world championships in Fukuoka, backing up his brace of individual medals at the 2022 world championships,” said Atkinson. “He is a contender on the international stage, having come through the Canadian club system in Ontario, and then at the High Performance Centre – Ontario to his progression now in Florida.
“I look forward to seeing what 2024 brings.”
Liendo swam a time of 50.34 seconds to earn his silver at worlds. That shaved 0.02 off the Canadian record he set at the Bell Canadian Swimming Trials and improved on his bronze medal from 2022 worlds.
“I wanted to focus on that event,” Liendo told Swimming Canada at the time. “I made a decision to go all in on the 100 fly and it paid off. I just trusted my race, trusted my strengths and also tried to work on stuff I thought were my weaknesses and it paid off.’’
Liendo Embraces The Flow Of Lessons
Josh Liendo said he’s still learning at the international level.
“There’s definitely some stuff to improve on,” he said. “Today was just a great learning opportunity for me.”
In December, at the 2023 Toyota U.S. Open Championships, Liendo was second in the 50-m freestyle and third in the 100-m fly.
“I’ve learned so much this year,” Liendo told the Player’s Own Voice. “Just train smarter. I have more specific details in mind and more race specific things I want to do for when a big meet comes.
“I’m a lot smarter going into this year than I was before.”
Liendo also serves as a role model for many young swimmers. He was the first Black Canadian swimmer to win a gold medal and an individual medal in an international competition at the 2021 world short-course championships. He said:
“There’s a sense of pride being able to represent and show people you can do anything you want. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says or what any preconception is. If you believe in something you can achieve it. Just make sure you’re wiling to put the work into it.”Josh Liendo – Photo Courtesy Swimming Canada/Kevin Light
Liendo gained international attention by reaching the podium at two major international meets in 2022. In addition to his bronze medals in the 100 free and 100 fly at 2022 worlds, Liendo was also part of the mixed 4×100-m freestyle relay team that captured silver and broke the Canadian record.
About a month later at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, Liendo won gold in the 100-m fly and grabbed bronze in the 50-m freestyle. He was also a member of the 4×100-m freestyle relay and the mixed 4×100-m freestyle relay that took home bronze
Liendo got a taste of the Olympics at the Tokyo 2020 Games. He was part of the men’s 4×100-m freestyle relay that broke the Canadian record and finished fourth. Individually, his best result was 11th in the 100-m butterfly. Those Games were held under COVID-19 protocols with no fans attending and the athletes’ movements strictly regulated.
Liendo is looking forward to the full Olympic experience in Paris.
“It’s going to be exciting because in Tokyo we got that kind of taken away,” he said. “It’s going to be fun to get some fans in the stands. That brings the kind of excitement (and) environment the Olympics should be.
“It’s going to be intense. It will be interesting.”