Isabelle Roth puts her name in the record book at SFU

Roth claims the top spot for the fastest 100m breaststroke in her latest meet

Photo of Isabelle Roth with half of her head raised above the water.
COVID-19 has not slowed down the short distance swimmer in the slightest. Krystal Chan / The Peak

By: Isabella Urbani, Sports Editor 

Freshman swimmer Isabelle Roth receives honours as The Peak’s February player of the month after toppling a 20-year SFU 100m breaststroke record with a time of one minute and nine seconds — under a second faster than Kathleen Stoody’s record set in 2002. 

The Calgary player joins SFU from Western Canada High. Roth won her first national medal in 2019 with her family by her side: a memory she believes sticks out from the rest. 

She was a member of two of SFU’s nine winning women’s events at the first meet of the season back in October. She clocked in during the final leg of the Women’s 3×100 Yard Medley Relay with a time of three minutes and six seconds, and the second leg of the Women’s 3×100 Yard Breaststroke Relay. 

Since then, Roth has yet to take her foot off the gas. In an interview with The Peak, she gushed about the opportunity to be back in the pool, and the relief of settling back into things without skipping a beat.

It is extremely refreshing to be swimming fast again! It was a little nerve wracking to [see how] my times would compare to pre COVID-19, but to my surprise I have improved a lot.” 

Roth’s bread and butter is the 200m breaststroke, despite setting the record in the 100m. She prides herself as being a 200m swimmer and acknowledges the “many different approaches and race plans” necessary to compete in such an event. “Being able to strategize a plan, and execute it is super technical and fun,” she added, giving the example of making the decision to lead the pack or save your energy for a late push. Being given the opportunity to compete in a relay with her team members is also always a joy, she said. 

Roth normally sees action in the second and third legs of a team race. She expressed the importance of all positions for a team’s success, but specified what makes the second leg so challenging is the “pressure of keeping up the pace of the backstroke.”

Roth’s record breaking meet on February 12 at the West Coast Collegiate came six days before the trio of preliminary competition meets to qualify for the NCAA Championship in North Carolina from March 9–12

Focused on the task at hand, Roth didn’t know of her record breaking accomplishment last month. “My dad actually texted me and told me I broke it! My dad has always been my biggest swim fan and knows my times better than I do!”

SFU’s new 100m holder hasn’t had much time to relish in her early swimming success, with her focus locked on the championship ahead of her and what she needs to do to be at her ultimate best come race day. “Before NCAA I definitely need to work on cleaning up the details of my breaststroke (pullouts, finishing my kick, etc).” 

Roth’s freshman campaign will come to an end with the team in North Carolina this month. This will be her final chance to earn some more wins and accolades before next season. We wish her and the swim team all the best!