One of Canada's top middle distance freestylers the past three seasons,
Mark Johnston is more excited about racing the men's 4X200 freestyle relay
at the Games than his individual specialties.
"Qualifying for the relay was the highlight for me at the Olympic trials,"
said Johnston, coming off a difficult 1999 season which included spraining
his ankle in training and burning the entire back of his leg in a cooking
accident. "It's an advantage for me to swim the individual events leading
up to the relay. I'll get some of the pressure off and gain some
experience. I think this can do something special, even win a medal."
Johnson was born and raised in St. Catharines but moved to Vancouver in
February 1998 to join the powerful Pacific Dolphins program headed by Tom
Johnson. However he had some lucrative options at his disposal.
"I wanted to stay in Canada," said the first year mathematics student at
the University of British Columbia. "I got offers from all over the States.
But I was guaranteed a free education in Canada with my carding. And to
keep that carding you had to improve. So I had a reason to push myself
Johnson started swimming at age three at his parents cottage and broke
through on the national scene at the 1996 Olympic trials placing third in
the 400 and 1,500 freestyle. Although he didn't make the team, he won his
first of nine national titles a few weeks later at the summer nationals.
He established himself as solid Canadian team member at the 1998
Commonwealth Games trials where he posted personal bests in both the 200
and 400 freestyle and placed seventh in both events at the Games.
Men's 800-metre freestyle relay: Mark Johnston, St. Catharines, Ont.; Brian Johns, Richmond, B.C.; Michael Mintenko, Moose Jaw, Sask.; Rick Say, Salmon Arm, B.C.), were seventh in final.
Mark Johnston, St. Catharines, Ont., placed eighth in heat, eliminated.
Mark Johnston, St. Catharines, Ont., was seventh in heat, eliminated.
Canadians cheer on Yannick Lupien
2000 Games Swimming Coverage