2014 Canadian National Championships started in Saskatoon today and will run until Saturday July 19th. With the Commonwealth Games team absent from the field it gives an opening for some of the country’s younger swimmers to contend for national championship titles.
The most impressive result of the first day of prelims was recorded by UBC Dolphins Noemie Thomas who posted a time of 26.38 in the women’s 50 butterfly. Her time is only five one-hundredths of a second away from her lifetime best of 26.33 which she posted in June. Thomas’s teammate Samantha Corea qualified second in a time of 26.61 while Rebecca Terejko of WRMS qualified third in a time of 27.52.
Matthew Dans of Go had the fastest time of the morning in the men’s 50 butterfly touching in a time of 24.75. Cameron Kidd of WRMS, who took silver in the event at the Canadian Trials in April, qualified second with a time of 24.76 followed by Christopher Bezeau of CNSJ who touched in a time of 24.82.
Danica Ludlow of ISC qualified with the top time of 2:02.84 in the women’s 200 freestyle. Barbara Jardin of PPO, who was the top seed going into the event with a best time of 1:58.25, qualified in the fourth position, posting a 2:03.60. Jardin is clearly the class of the field in tonight’s final and will be the woman to beat.
On the men’s side Jeremy Bagshaw of ISC had a strong morning swim putting up the fastest qualifying time and lifetime best of 1:49.28. UBCD’s Stefan Milosevic qualified second in a time of 1:50.15 followed by Eric Hedlin of ISC who finished in a time of 1:51.46. Brothers Hassaan and Aly Abdel-Khalik of ESwim will both be in final and should challenge for a place on the podium as both have lifetime best times under the 1:50 mark.
Oakville had the two top qualifiers in the women’s 100 backstroke with Dominique Bouchard posting a time of 1:02.07 and Annie Harrison recording a time of 1:03.03. The top two seeds Danielle Hanus (1:03.39) of Newmarketand Kennedy Goss (1:03.05) of the Granite Gators Swim Team were well of their lifetime bests, but should challenge Bouchard for the gold this evening.
In the men’s 100 backstroke Edmonton Keyano’s Adam Best was the top qualifier shaving a second off of his lifetime best recording a time of 56.58. Jeffrey Swanston of Newmarket qualified second in a time of 56.90, over a second slower than his lifetime best.
Top seed Charles Francis of PPO swam a 59.55 while Joe Byram of the University of Alberta who was the second seed posted a 58.48. Neither one will be racing in tonight’s final.
Ashley McGregor of Pointe Claire, who finished fourth in the 200 breaststroke at the Canadian Trials, was the top qualifier posting a time of 2:27.58. Rachel Nicol of the LASC qualified second in a time of 2:29.67 followed by Katie Mann of Prince George who touched in a time of 2:32.13. Irish national team member Fiona Doyle, who has elected to skip the Commonwealth Games to focus on the European Championships, qualified fourth with a time of 2:32.33.
Doyle will have a place in the final as two foreign swimmers are allowed in each A final.
In the men’s 200 breaststroke James Guest of Pointe Claire had the fastest time in the prelims finishing in a 2:16.52. He was followed by Jason Block of the University of Calgary Swim Club who posted a time of 2:17.02. Ashton Baumann of the Edmonton Keyano Swim Club, who represented Canada at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, but had to forgo the 2014 Canadian Trials due to health concerns, qualified third in a time of 2:17.86.
Baumann has a lifetime best of 2:13.46 so if he healthy and ready to race this evening’s final should have a clearly defined winner.