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Fish set to compete at World Single Distance championships

Moose Jaw's Graeme Fish has had an excellent season thus far, as he heads to Europe for two important competitions

An already impressive speedskating season for Moose Jaw's Graeme Fish is about to get more interesting.

Fish, 21, will represent Canada in the 5,000 metres at the World Cup 5 series of races in Hamar, Norway from Feb. 1-5. That will just be a warm-up for the big show the following weekend – the World Single Distance Championships, taking place from Feb. 7-10 in Inzell, Germany. There, Fish will take the ice in both the 5,000 and 10,000m, with a goal of putting together the best showing possible while gaining all the experience he can.

“The World Single Distance races are pretty much the Olympics in a non-Olympic year, so this is pretty exciting,” Fish said prior to taking the ice for a practice session at the Oval in Calgary. “The best of the best in the world will be there and it's going to be great to be able to face that kind of competition and see what I can do at that level.”

Fish qualified for worlds with an impressive showing at the Canada Cup #2 qualifying race during the Jan. 4-7 weekend in Calgary. He finished second to Olympic silver medalist Ted-Jan Bloeman in the 5,000m before picking up a result that kind of left him surprised – a win in the 10,000m in a time of 13:14.68, which meant he would be skating for Canada in two distances at worlds.

“I was really happy with how things went in the 10,000 and it's great to have a chance to skate that distance at worlds,” Fish said. “The goal is to keep improving and getting better and hopefully I can do the same there.”

Interestingly enough, Fish has put together solid races in the 10,000m in the past. He finished third in the 'B' group at World Cup 3 earlier this season, putting down a time of 13:20.56 for the third-fastest showing of the meet. He also finished 15th  in the 5,000m at World Cup 4 the following week, crossing the line in 6:23.91.

The key going forward for Fish is rather simple: continue the hard work – which includes two on-ice sessions a day plus a myriad of other training in between – while continuing to find the consistency so important for distance speedskating.

Based on his third-place showing, the latter is coming along rather well. Fish's lap times varied less than a second from the 11th lap to the 25th, ranging from 31.9 to 31.0 seconds, with the last seven laps all within a range of 0.3 seconds.

Now it's a matter of getting a bit quicker and seeing what happens, with a rather huge goal in the near future.

“The goal has always been to skate in the Olympics and that's what I'm hoping to have a chance to do in three years,” Fish said. “I'm still young, so if it doesn't happen this time I'll have another chance, but the goal is to be there next time, for sure."

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