2023 Canadian Swimming Trials: Day 1 Prelims Live Recap


The first preliminary session of the 2023 Canadian Swimming Trials is set to get underway in Toronto, as the six-day event will help determine who will represent Canada this summer at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

Highlighting Day 1 action will be the women’s 100 backstroke, where reigning Olympic silver medalist Kylie Masse headlines the field, while we’ll also see 16-year-old superstar Summer McIntosh kick off her program in the women’s 400 freestyle.

We’ll also see prelim heats in the men’s 100 back and 400 free, along with the 200 breaststroke and a few para events.

Note that that top 10 swimmers in each event will qualify for the ‘A’ final, rather than the traditional top eight.

Women’s 50 Breaststroke Multi-Class PARA

  1. Niki Ens SB2, 1:46.08
  2. Aly Van Wyck-Smart SB2, 1:47.16

Niki Ens edged out Aly Van Wyck-Smart in the women’s 50 breast para event, with both competing in the SB2 category. Ens finished in a time of 1:46.08.

Women’s 100 Breaststroke Multi-Class PARA

  1. Tess Routliffe SB7, 1:36.88
  2. Abi Tripp SB7, 1:38.68
  3. Katarina Roxon SB8, 1:30.23

SB7 swimmers Tess Routliffe (1:36.88) and Abi Tripp (1:38.68) qualified 1-2 into the final of the women’s 100 breast para event, outscoring Katarina Roxon (1:30.23), who was faster but is competing in the SB8 category.

Men’s 100 Breaststroke Multi-Class PARA

  1. James Leroux SB9, 1:11.72
  2. Jagdev Gill SB9, 1:16.48
  3. Caleb Arndt SB13, 1:18.33

James Leroux paced the men’s 100 breaststroke para event by a wide margin in a time of 1:11.72, three seconds shy of his personal best of 1:08.56. Leroux set that time at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships where he won the silver medal.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke – Prelims

  • Canadian Record: 2:20.12 – Annamay Pierse (2009)
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 2:25.91

Finals Qualifiers:

  1. Sydney Pickrem (TSC), 2:26.53
  2. Kelsey Wog (UMAN), 2:26.98
  3. Nina Kucheran (SLSC), 2:28.11
  4. Avery Wiseman (OSC), 2:28.14
  5. Mary-Sophie Harvey (CAMO), 2:28.38
  6. Sophie Angus (HPCON), 2:29.10
  7. Rachel Nicol (UCSC), 2:29.20
  8. Tessa Cieplucha (MAC), 2:29.66
  9. Julie Brousseau (NKB), 2:32.96
  10. Amaris Peng (LAC), 2:33.06

Two-time Olympian Sydney Pickrem led the way in the heats of the women’s 200 breaststroke, putting up a time of 2:26.53 to edge out the University of Manitoba’s Kelsey Wog in the fourth and final heat.

Pickrem, 25, represented Canada in this event at the 2019 World Championships, winning the bronze medal and setting a personal best time of 2:22.63 at the Canadian Trials a few months earlier, but has raced the 200 breast sparsely in the long course pool since. This performance marks her fastest time in nearly four years.

Wog, who was fourth in this event at the 2022 World Championships, cruised through to the final less than half a second back of Pickrem in 2:26.98, with both swimmers well within reach of the FINA ‘A’ cut of 2:25.91.

Sudbury Laurentian Swim Club’s Nina Kucheran, fresh off of representing Florida at the Women’s NCAA Championships just over a week ago, qualified third in 2:28.11, the second-fastest swim of her career. Kucheran owns a PB of 2:27.54 set at the 2021 Olympic Trials.

Avery Wiseman, representing Olympian Swim Club, won the penultimate heat to advance fourth overall in 2:28.14. Like Kucheran, Wiseman is also coming off of swimming at the NCAA Championships, completing her sophomore year at Alabama.

Etobicoke Swim Club’s Alexandra Leno, the youngest swimmer of the meet at just 12, finished 36th in a time of 2:45.93. Leno set a best time of 2:41.28 at the Ontario Provincial Championship earlier this month,

Men’s 200 Breaststroke – Prelims

  • Canadian Record: 2:08.84 – Mike Brown (2008)
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 2:10.32

Finals Qualifiers:

  1. James Dergousoff (HPCVN), 2:10.01
  2. Brayden Taivassalo (MAC), 2:12.86
  3. Apollo Hess (UOFL), 2:16.04
  4. Justice Migneault (UBCT), 2:16.14
  5. Neil Simpson (PCSC), 2:17.32
  6. Brayden Hemeon (UBCT), 2:18.14
  7. Brodie Young (UBCT), 2:18.30
  8. Justin Jung (HYACK), 2:18.81
  9. Jett Verjee (UCSC) / Moncef Balamane (ALG), 2:18.92

James Dergousoff rattled off a big personal best time and is now the second-fastest Canadian in history in the men’s 200 breaststroke, putting up a time of 2:10.01 in the prelims.

Dergousoff, 26, took off more than two seconds from his previous best time of 2:12.33, set in 2019, and also put himself under the FINA ‘A’ cut of 2:10.32 to position himself to earn World Championship qualification in tonight’s final.

Now training out of the High Performance Centre in Vancouver, Dergousoff represented Canada in this event at the 2022 World Championships, placing 23rd in 2:13.89. His time from this morning not only would’ve advanced out of the heats in Budapest, but it’s also within striking distance of what was required to make the final (2:09.69).

All-Time Canadian Rankings, Men’s 200 Breaststroke (LCM)

  1. Mike Brown – 2:08.84 (2008)
  2. James Dergousoff – 2:10.01 (2023)
  3. Ashton Baumann – 2:10.69 (2016)
  4. Scott Dickens – 2:10.95 (2012)
  5. Eli Wall – 2:11.47 (2018)

Markham Aquatic Club’s Brayden Taivassalo, who reset his best time earlier this month at the Pro Swim Series stop in Fort Lauderdale at 2:14.54, took nearly two seconds off of that to qualify second for the final in 2:12.86. That time moves him past Canadian Record holder Mike Brown by .01 for the fastest time ever done by a Canadian in the 17-18 age group. (Canadian Age Group Records are recognized for 15-17s, however.)

Women’s 100 Backstroke – Prelims

  • Canadian Record: 57.70 – Kylie Masse (2021)
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 1:00.59

Finals Qualifiers:

  1. Kylie Masse (TSC), 59.06
  2. Ingrid Wilm (CASC), 1:00.58
  3. Danielle Hanus (RAPID), 1:01.07
  4. Ella Varga (UCSC), 1:01.54
  5. Jordan Greber (GPP), 1:01.61
  6. Maddy Gatrall (WAC), 1:01.62
  7. Ashley McMillan (GO), 1:02.45
  8. Brooklyn Douthwright (CNBO), 1:02.56
  9. Madison Kryger (BROCK), 1:02.76
  10. Lila Higgo (UNCAN), 1:02.94

The ever-consistent Kylie Masse put up yet another sub-1:00 100 backstroke swim to lead the women’s heats by a second and a half, with her time of 59.06 improving on her season-best 59.43 set in January.

That maintains Masse’s place as the third-fastest swimmer in the world this year, trailing Australian Kaylee McKeown (57.84) and American Regan Smith (57.92).

Cascade’s Ingrid Wilm, who is now the favorite to nab the second spot at Worlds behind Masse after Taylor Ruck‘s withdrawal from the meet, was .01 under the FINA ‘A’ cut this morning to qualify second into the final at 1:00.58. Wilm owns a best time of 59.58 set last summer.

Maddy Gatrall, who represented Akron at the Women’s NCAA Championships, qualified for the final in sixth, dropping a nearly a second from her best time of 1:02.54 in 1:01.62.

Brock’s Madison Kryger dropped eight-tenths in 1:02.76, making the final and moving up into fifth all-time in the girls’ 13-14 age group.

Men’s 100 Backstroke – Prelims

  • Canadian Record: 53.35 – Markus Thormeyer (2019)
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 54.03

Finals Qualifiers:

  1. Blake Tierney (UBCT), 54.74
  2. Javier Acevedo (AAC), 54.85
  3. Raben Dommann (HPCVN), 55.15
  4. Aiden Norman (UCSC), 55.23
  5. Tristan Jankovics (RCAQ), 55.25
  6. Loic Courville Fortin (CAMO), 55.84
  7. Richie Stokes (UCSC), 56.19
  8. Ilya Kharun (UNCAN), 56.31
  9. Hugh McNeill (UBCT), 56.35
  10. Collyn Gagne (SFA), 56.71

Blake Tierney, mysteriously simply listed as “Anonymous” in the results, put up the top time of the morning in the men’s 100 back, breaking 55 seconds for the fourth time iof his career in 54.74.

Tierney, representing UBC, owns a best time of 54.45, set in the prelims of last year’s Canadia Trials before ultimately placing second in the final (54.62).

The 2022 winner was Javier Acevedo, who advanced second overall into the final in 54.85. Acevedo notably had the fastest first 50 in the field by a wide margin in 25.99, but was second-slowest among ‘A’ finalists coming home (28.86).

University of Calgary Swim Club’s Aiden Norman cracked the 56-second barrier for the first time in 55.23, moving up into second all-time in the boys’ 15-17 age group. Norman’s previous best was 56.07, set just two weeks ago at the Western Canadian Championships.

The NAG record sits a 54.63 from Cole Pratt in 2019.

Sandpipers of Nevada swimmer Ilya Kharun, who has been on fire over the last six months in the butterfly events, got his meet off to a good start as he drops nearly four-tenths for a new best time of 56.31 and a lane in tonight’s ‘A’ final.

Women’s 400 Freestyle – Prelims

  • Canadian Record: 3:59.32 – Summer McIntosh (2022)
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 4:10.57

Finals Qualifiers:

  1. Summer McIntosh (UNCAN), 4:08.05
  2. Ella Jansen (ESWIM), 4:12.20
  3. Mabel Zavaros, (MAC) 4:13.84
  4. Emma O’Croinin (UBCT), 4:14.69
  5. Katrina Bellio (ESWIM), 4:14.72
  6. Kathryn Hazle (UNCAN), 4:16.20
  7. Julie Brousseau (NKB), 4:16.42
  8. Megan Willar (PCSC), 4:17.01
  9. Maya Bezanson (ESWIM), 4:17.39
  10. Bailey O’Regan (UNCAN), 4:18.63

Summer McIntosh looked smooth as ever in dominating the final heat of the women’s 400 freestyle, putting up a time of 4:08.05 to lead the field by over four seconds.

The 16-year-old, who now trains with the Sarasota Sharks in Florida after beginning with the Etobicoke Swim Club and then transitioning into the High Performance Centre – Ontario, currently ranks second in the world this season with her time of 3:59.79 from the U.S. Open in December.

McIntosh was one of four swimmers with ties to Etobicoke that qualified for the ‘A’ final, joined by second-place Ella Jansen (4:12.20), fifth-place Katrina Bellio (4:14.72) and ninth-place Maya Bezanson (4:17.39).

Jansen is coming off of setting a personal best 4:07.18 at the Fort Lauderdale Pro Swim earlier this month, and figures to be the leading candidate to take second and join McIntosh in this event this summer in Fukuoka.

Mabel Zavaros, coming off of an 11th-place finish in the 500 free at the Women’s NCAA Championships 11 days ago, advanced third into the final in 4:13.84, undercutting her previous best of 4:14.63 set in May 2021.

Another swimmer training out of the U.S. that made the final is Kathryn Hazle, a Cal commit out of North Coast Aquatics in San Diego. Hazle clocked 4:16.20 for sixth, with her PB sitting at 4:13.46 from the U.S. Junior Nationals last summer.

Nepean Kanata’s Julie Brousseau, 17, made her second final of the day in seventh, setting a new best time of 4:16.42. Brousseau also qualified for the 200 breast final in ninth.

Men’s 400 Freestyle – Prelims

  • Canadian Record: 3:43.46 – Ryan Cochrane (2014)
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 3:48.15

Finals Qualifiers:

  1. Yu Tong Wu (UNVAR), 3:54.34
  2. Eric Brown (PCSC), 3:55.00
  3. Alex Axon (MAC), 3:55.07
  4. Jeremy Bagshaw (ISC), 3:55.12
  5. Lorne Wigginton (UCSC), 3:55.51
  6. Sebastian Paulins (BRANT), 3:56.89
  7. Quinn Matteis (WAC), 3:59.27
  8. Victor Dagenais (CAMO), 3:59.38
  9. Diego Paz (EKSC), 3:59.52
  10. Jordi Vilchez (BTSC), 3:59.62

Yu Tong Wu of the Surrey Knights put up the fastest time of the session in the men’s 400 free, touching in 3:54.34 to pace the penultimate heat and record the second-fastest swim of his career.

Wu set a PB of 3:53.62 last summer at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships where he finished fourth.

Markham’s Alex Axon (3:55.07) placed second to Wu in Heat 4, ultimately qualifying third into the final.

In a very close final heat, it was Pointe-Claire’s Eric Brown (3:55.07) out-touched Jeremy Bagshaw (3:55.12) and Lorne Wigginton (3:55.51) to touch first and qualify third overall, with Wigginton resetting his PB of 3:56.32 set at Junior Pan Pacs.

Brown’s swim comes just three days after wrapping up the Men’s NCAA Championships with Florida, having raced the 1650 free and placing 19th on Saturday.

HYACK’s Laon Kim, 14, put up a time of 4:01.28 to place 13th in the prelims, lowering the Canadian boys’ 13-14 National Age Group Record of 4:01.80 he set in February.

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Canadian swim nerd
1 year ago

Actually, there were five, not four swimmers with ties to Etobicoke Swim Club that qualified for the ‘A’ final in 400 free, as Bailey O’Regan was also swimming with ESWIM before moving recently to Florida

1 year ago

Props to Madison Kryger (08) of Brock swimming making it into the A final!! Looking forward to watching her progression.

D. Ling
Reply to  2002NB
1 year ago

So am I.

Gummy Shark
1 year ago

Is Penny Oleksiak swimming? I heard Michael Phelps gave her his phone number to help her with training.

1 year ago

Canadian swimming here is Summer McIntosh and nothing else

Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

Josh Liendo, Kylie Masse, Maggie MacNeil….

Reply to  emma
1 year ago

Taylor ruck Sydney pickrem ella jansen

Octavio Gupta
Reply to  Titobiloluwa
1 year ago


Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

Tell me you don’t follow swimming without telling me you don’t follow swimming lol

Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

Ok, I forgot MacNeil

"we've got a boiler!"
Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

With all due respect to the many many others you forgot, along with the silly comment, that anyone again would ‘forget’ Masse is such a disservice to her remarkable career. Penny with the Olympic glory, Maggie as the butterfly star, and Summer as the breakout kid, Kylie Masse has carried the Canadian team with her class and consistency literally hitting podium performances at every single championship meet since 2015. A remarkable run that very few international swimmers have achieved.

Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

What a stupid uninformed comment.

1 year ago

4:10 for the A cut seems really slow compared to other events.

1 year ago

Does anyone know the relationship with Sarasota Sharks in Florida and Etobicoke Swim Club in Canada? I feel this isn’t the first time there was a partnership. Kristen Linehan I think was from Sarasota and swam with Etobicoke with Paul Bergen and a lot of the Canadian National Team back in the late 80s and maybe there were others too? Or possibly this is just one of life’s coincidences.

Reply to  LBSWIM
1 year ago

I don’t know of any formal relationship, but it could just come down to similar coaching styles/traditions.

I’ll ask around and see if anybody knows of anything deeper.

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Ha. Thanks. As a random swim nerd, I remembered this connection for some odd reason.

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

It could also be just a random fluke. Her sister Kym swam for Paul at U of Texas, then Paul goes to Etobicoke in Canada, and Kristen knows Paul through Kym’s success and goes there before and possibly during her time at U of Florida. I’m thinking way too much about this when I should be working.

Reply to  LBSWIM
1 year ago

I mean, I would really like for there to be no connection between whatever Paul Bergen had going on there and what is happening now.

T Hill
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

The relationship was Paul B with Kim L and family (then Krissy) .

Reply to  T Hill
1 year ago

That’s what I figured could have been the answer too. Paul and Kym at U Texas. Then he goes to Canada and Krissy heads there due to personal relationship.

Reply to  LBSWIM
1 year ago

Some clubs in Canada go back to the same areas/pools in Florida for winter training camps for years and years. Could have started that way.

1 year ago

Best swim of the morning for me is James Dergousoff swimming A time for worlds in 200 breast.

Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

Yes his 2.10 already augurs well for his 100 breast…I’d be elated if he can get under 2.10 hopefully tavaissalo would push him

Reply to  Titobiloluwa
1 year ago

Going to be a great finals tonight. Both top 2 looked really strong. 8 years age difference, needless to say this summer looks good and beyond.

Bo Swims
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

For sure Chapeau to James & his coach Mandy Bell

Reply to  Bo Swims
1 year ago

Isn’t Scott T coaching him?

Bo Swims
Reply to  HappyG
1 year ago

She’s listed as his coach of record.


Reply to  Bo Swims
1 year ago

Probably from last year before Talbot officially started. I hear the squad really liking Scott, good start to the meet and hopefully a good start to Vancouver’s renewal as an HP Center.

Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

Agree. Both best and most surprising.

1 year ago

If Summer had swam her 400 PB this morning it would have qualified her seventh in the men’s event this morning. Been watching Canadian swimming for over a decade of my life now and I still can’t believe how slow the Canadian men are in the mid-distance events.

Bo Swims
Reply to  Crannman
1 year ago

Wigginton was looking sharp. Picking him to win the 4IM. A cut is 4:17.48, UCSC open club record is 4:15.33 (Myden – 2000 Olympics).

Reply to  Bo Swims
1 year ago


Reply to  Bo Swims
1 year ago


Reply to  Crannman
1 year ago

Agreed, was disappointed to see those times in the 400 free after a few sharp swims on the men’s side in the other events.

It’s quite close between the top 4-5 guys tonight, so maybe that will push the pace. At least one of these guys needs to just go for it.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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