By Mat LaBranche
With it being her last showing at the Canadian university level, Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson did not disappoint, leading the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds to their second consecutive title at the 2018 U Sports Swimming Championships.
“I couldn’t have asked for a whole lot more,” said Seltenreich-Hodgson, a former Nepean Kanata Barracuda. “It was a great page to end that book on. It’s something we pride ourselves on as a university, so to do that four out of my five years (at UBC) is pretty special.”
Seltenreich-Hodgson was no stranger to the podium, snagging bronze in the 200m freestyle and 400m freestyle relay, silver in the 200m breaststroke and 400m individual medley and gold in the 200m individual medley and 800m freestyle relay.
The 200m individual medley win marked a rare accomplishment for the former Greater Ottawa Kingfish. Having won the event in each of her first four years, she earned what is known as the Grand Slam, but by taking home another title in her final year of eligibility, she earned the highly coveted Super Grand Slam, something that remained in the back of her mind.
“Being able to defend my title in the 200m IM as my last event was really special,” revealed Seltenreich-Hodgson. “It was quite emotional and overwhelming. Even though some of my other races didn’t go exactly as planned, the fact that I got to have that final win in that event made it all okay and served as a great culmination to my university career.”
Seltenreich-Hodgson had the same opportunity in the 400m individual medley, having already achieved the Grand Slam, but ultimately fell just short to fellow Thunderbird, Emily Overholt.
“I originally went in with the mentality of trying to defend the 400m as well, so coming up short obviously wasn’t a happy moment for me,” admitted Seltenreich-Hodgson. “But at the same time it was a good moment too, because (Overholt) is a first-year on the team and I’m very happy she’s a part of it. So in the end, I’m not too bitter about that one because she had a phenomenal race.”
Along with her veteran status, it’s this type of attitude that entrenched Seltenreich-Hodgson into a leadership role among her teammates. While she admits she might not be the traditional leader, it remains a position she does not take lightly.
“With age comes a little more responsibility, and I definitely always try to lead by example, but I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a loud leader,” disclosed Seltenreich-Hodgson. “I try to lead the best way I know how and just hope that it’s a good example. I’m hoping that I’ve made an influence on people that are younger than me or even the same age, both in the pool and in the way I live my life.”
Although her varsity swimming career has wrapped up, Seltenreich-Hodgson will not have much time to rest, as she will be representing Canada in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, beginning April 4th in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.