Eric Hedlin grew up in San Diego, California but chose to move to Victoria after high school instead of going to an NCAA program because he believed two-time Olympic medallist Ryan Cochrane would be a great training partner. His decision quickly paid off. At the 2013 Canadian Trials, Hedlin became the third-fastest Canadian ever in the 1500m freestyle but he finished behind the men ranked first (Cochrane) and second (Will Brothers), causing him to miss out on a berth in the pool for the World Aquatics Championships.
Hedlin decided to turn his attention to open water swimming instead and earned a spot on that world championship team. Hoping for a top-12 finish in Barcelona, he won Canada’s only open water medal of the competition, taking silver in the non-Olympic 5km event by beating out seven-time defending world champion Thomas Lurz of Germany. That success came just six days after he won 800m freestyle bronze at the 2013 Universiade, where he also reached the finals of the 400m and 1500m freestyle events.
Hedlin won his second career medal at the World Aquatics Championships in 2019 when he captured bronze in the men’s 5km race. He competed at the Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier for Tokyo 2020 but was unable to finish the event.
In 2015, Hedlin cracked the top-10 in the 10km marathon at the Pan Am Games in Toronto and followed up with his second world championship appearance. He earned a spot on the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games team when he finished second in the men’s 10km race at the Canadian Trials. That result also earned him a trip to the World Aquatics Championships for the fifth time in his career.
A Little More About Eric
Getting into the Sport: Started swimming at age 5… Grew up in an active family that includes his masters swimmer mother… Entered his first competitive meet at age 10… Outside Interests: Studied computer science at the University of Victoria… Enjoys film, computer science, psychology, and space travel… Likes to try adrenaline sports like cliff jumping…
Notable International Results
Pan American Games: 2015 – 9th (10km)
World Aquatics Championships: 2019 – BRONZE (5km), 13th (mixed team 5km relay); 2017 – 14th (5km), 11th (mixed team 5km relay); 2015 – 56th (10km); 2013 – SILVER (5km), 23rd (10km)
Pan Pacific Championships: 2018 – 8th (1500m freestyle); 2014 – 14th (1500m freestyle)