The 2012 Canadian Olympic Trials wrapped-up with a bang, as we saw a National Record go down in the meet’s final women’s race. That race, however, was easily the most exciting swim of the day, as it was the only race out of five where two Olympic spots were handed out.
Women’s 200 Backstroke
Canadian teenager Sinead Russell saved the best for last at these Olympic Trials – after being well off of her best times in each of her previous races, she exploded on the final-day 200 backstroke with a 2:08.04, which gives her a best time and the secondable-bodied National Record of the meet with a 2:08.04 for the win. That blew away her 2:08.80 from last year’s World Championships that stood as the previous record.
The big difference in this swim for Russell was the third 50 – where she was able to split a 32.65 (more than half-a-second faster than in her previous best-swim) without sacrificing any speed on the close length. That swim becomes the 5th-best in the world in 2012.
Not unexpectedly, Hillary Caldwell jumped up from placing 4th in the prelims to take the second Olympic spot in 2:09.14, which a best time for her by seven-tenths and improves her standing as the second-fastest Canadian in history. She kept pace with Russell fairly well outside of the final 50 (where Russell was still so good in 32.69, and Caldwell was fairly average in 33.22).
For the first time in this meet, Julia Wilkinson fell short of an Olympic spot with a third-place finish in 2:09.53, though that’s a three-second time drop for her in an event that she might have scratched in London anyway. This was a great way for the Canadian women to wrap-up the meet, as the top four swimmers (Dominique Bouchard in 1:09.70) went best times, and are now the four-fastest swimmers in Canadian history.
Bouchard continued to shift her strategy in this race to one of going out much faster (1:03 opening 100 meters). It seems as though she still needs more time to develop that, however, and could be in line to make the 2013 World Championship team – though the competition is all very young and won’t get any easier.
Women’s 50 Free
Hometown girl Victoria Poon of the PPO club took the 50 free title in 25.03, which is the third-best time of her career and a new Canadian Open Record (as the fastest time ever swum on Canadian soil).
Behind her was the future of Canadian sprinting Chantal van Landeghem in 25.28. For the recently-18-year old, born a decade after Poon, that misses the FINA Automatic Qualifying Time by .01 seconds. She did clear the required time at last year’s World Championship meet with a 25.05, and I’d expect her to be a strong candidate to apply for a special consideration spot on the Olympic Team in this event, given her youth and future potential for this team.
Poon’s teammate Hannah Riordan was 3rd in 25.33, and Jennifer Beckenberger was 4th in 25.50.
Fionnuala Pierse, one of the younger Pierse sisters, took 8th in 26.21.
Bahamas swimmer Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace won the B-Final in 24.98, the fastest time overall of the meet. That ranks her 15th in the World this year, and though it’s a season-best for her, the time is not quite as impressive as her 100 was earlier in the meet.
Men’s 50 Free
Brent Hayden had a bit of a scare in the final of this 50 free, which is where his qualification wasn’t as assured as it was in the 100 from earlier in the meet. Richard Hortness very nearly pulled even with him in the final 10 meters of the race, and though Hayden won in a 22.16, Hortness’ 22.47 left him about two-strokes shy of making up the final few inches. Hortness is looking as good as he ever has, and though he will have only the 400 free relay to worry about in London, he’s peaking just at the right time.
Luke Peddie (22.60) and Kyle Troskot (22.84) are the bright youngsters of Canadian Swimming, but both will have to wait until at least 2016 to earn their Olympic rings.
Men’s 200 IM
GMAC’s Andrew Ford didn’t necessarily look a lot better in the final of this 200 IM than in the prelims, but he got off to a much-faster start in the opening butterfly leg, and rode that to a win in this 200 IM in 2:01.18 to earn the only Olympic bid for Canada in this race.
Runner-up Jake Tapp (2:02.75) has made his money as a backstroker thus far in his career, but he may have found a new calling in this meet as an IM’er. Though it didn’t result in an Olympic bid, this swam was 5-seconds faster than he’s ever been in his career; with a bit more experience in the race (he didn’t finish as well as he started), he could be the breakthrough IM’er that Canada needs in this shorter distance.
Matt Kwatyra took 3rd in 2:04.35.
Men’s 1500 Free
Ryan Cochrane just coasted through this 1500 free en route to a 15:09.80 win, and with nobody else making the FINA Automatic Qualifying Time, his swim from Worlds locks up his second spot in London. He didn’t really put anything resembling “effort” into the first 1000 meters of this race (he actually sat in 5th place for the first third of this race), but he turned it on over the last 500 to put away the field easily.
Kier Maitland took 2nd in 15:17.03.
Full Day 6 (and Meet) Results available here. Check back on the event channel at swimswam.ca, as we’re not done from Montreal – Callum Ng still has lots of great interviews coming from on-deck.