2016 Canadian Olympic Trials: Condorelli, Chetrat Favored In Butterfly

2016 CANADIAN OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC TRIALS

In what has recently been a weakness on the Canadian team, the men’s fly has seen some great improvements over the past year. This was highlighted at the Pan American Games last July, where Canada earned three medals in men’s butterfly. Though they are still not on par with the rest of the world, they are certainly on their way with lots of up and coming talent taking them there.

100 FLY

  • Top Seed – Santo Condorelli (52.41)
  • FINA-A Standard – 52.36
  • Number of Canadians Seeded Under FINA-A – 0
  • Notable Foreigners – Tom Shields (USA), Jan Switkowski (POL)

After Canadian record holder Joe Bartoch dominated this event in Canada from 2008 to 2012, his retirement left a void in the men’s 100 fly. Coleman Allen of UBC appeared to be the answer, representing Canada at the 2013 World Championships and the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships in the event. Evan White and Gamal Assaad (both of Oakville) looked promising for the future as well, both going 53-mid at the 2014 trials. At the 2015 trials, however, the sprint free/fly landscape changed with the entrance of Santo Condorelli.

Condorelli came into his first meet under Canadian sporting citizenship and won both the 100 free and 100 fly, narrowly edging out Allen in the 100 fly. Condorelli clocked a 52.96 for the win, and improved again at Pan Ams winning bronze in 52.42. Condorelli swam another personal best this past December at the U.S. Winter Nationals, clocking 52.41. He’ll be favoured to win here, but expect him to be challenged. After going 52.4 in December he should have a problem getting under the FINA-A standard of 52.36, and has a good chance of eclipsing Joe Bartoch’s Canadian record of 52.28.

Coleman Allen will have the best shot at taking out Condorelli, as is personal best isn’t too far behind at 52.76. That swim came in 2013, but his 2nd and 3rd fastest swims ever came at the 2015 trials with a pair of 53.1 performances. Unlike previous years Allen didn’t compete in the CIS this season, giving him more time to train long course which will likely benefit him greatly come trials. Look for him to challenge both Condorelli and the 52.36 qualifying standard.

Evan White and Gamal Assaad have really established their presence on the Canadian national team the last three years, both gaining valuable international experience. Both competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and Assaad also competed at the Pan Pacific Championships that same summer. White had the four best swims of his career in 2014, going sub-54 four times. He was just 7th at the 2015 trials, and will be looking to regain his spot as one of the best butterflyers in Canada.

Assaad also had the best swim of his career in 2014, clocking 53.42 for 2nd at the 2014 trials. He almost equalled that time at the 2015 trials, going 53.55 for 3rd behind Condorelli and Allen. Both Assaad and White will need big drops to challenge the top two guys, but should be good bets for a position in the top five.

Also seeded under 54 is Josiah Binnema, who is coming off a CIS title in this event in February. Binnema went 53.86 at the 2015 Junior World Championships.

Others who will be dangerous include Ivan Cocunubo (54.09), Mack Darragh (54.13), and 200 fly specialist Zack Chetrat (54.53).

A notable non-Canadian entered in this event is the 4th place finisher at the 2015 World Championships, Tom Shields of the United States.

200 FLY

  • Top Seed – Zack Chetrat (1:56.90)
  • FINA-A Standard – 1:56.97
  • Number of Canadians Seeded Under FINA-A – 1
  • Notable Foreigners – Tom Shields (USA), Jan Switkowski (POL)

In what was a relatively wide open event at the 2012 Olympic Trials, favorite Stefan Hirniak led through 150m, but faltered down the last 50. This opened the door for David Sharpe and Zack Chetrat, who stormed down the final leg in search of an Olympic berth. Out of lanes 7 and 8, they touched 1st and 2nd, separated by just 0.02. Sharpe won in 1:58.81, booking his ticket to the Olympics, while Chetrat was left wondering what might have been, 2nd in 1:58.83.

Chetrat went onto win two consecutive national trials in 2013 and 2014 in the 200 fly, and represented Canada at the 2013 World Championships. After losing another close race at the 2015 trials to Alec Page, Chetrat delivered at the Pan American Games, winning silver in a best time of 1:56.90. With the retirement of Hirniak, Sharpe and Page, Chetrat will be the clear favorite at trials. If he can execute and get under the FINA-A standard of 1:56.97, he’ll make the Olympic team after coming so close four years ago.

The only other man seeded under two minutes is Mack Darragh of Oakville, seeded at 1:59.03. Darragh’s best time actually sits at 1:58.52 from the 2014 Pan Pacs, and was a very solid 1:59.21 at the U.S. Winter Nationals in December. After wrapping up a four year career at the University of Missouri last March, Darragh should benefit from a year of long course focus. I expect we’ll see him well under two minutes, but whether or not he can make the qualifying standard and/or challenge Chetrat remains to be seen.

Coleman Allen (2:00.66), Nicolaas Dekker (2:01.02), and Gamal Assaad (2:01.20) will also be threats to get under two minutes. Allen and Dekker finished 4th and 5th respectively at the 2015 trials, while Assaad finished 3rd at Canadian Nationals in August (1st among Canadians).

Others who could drop fast times are Thomas Jobin (2:01.52), Ivan Cocunubo (2:01.71), and Evan White (2:02.10).

American Tom Shields is entered in this event as well, as is 2015 World Championship bronze medalist Jan Switkowski of Poland.

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About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James is currently a university swimmer for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. He is studying economics. Along with swimming, he also loves hockey. He's in his 14th season as a competitive swimmer. Best Times (SCM): 50 FR - 24.70 100 FR - 53.88 200 FR - 1:56.12 1500 FR - 16:45.97 100 BK - …

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