UBC Thunderbird Kelly Aspinall set a new CIS meet record in the short course 50m backstroke to open Day 1 Prelims of the CIS Swimming Championships in Calgary. Aspinall clocked a 24.21 to dip under the 16 year old mark of 24.25 set by Chris Renaud in 1997. Only one other swimmer dipped under 25 seconds: David Sharpe of Dalhousie who represented Canada at the London Olympics in the 200m Butterfly. Rookie Russell Wood qualified third for the University of Calgary Dinos.
On the women’s side, last year’s silver medallist Grainne Pierse (UBC) led last year’s winner Andrea Jurenovskis (Toronto) 28.30 to 28.38. Gabrielle Soucisse (Carabins) was third in 28.57.
The women’s side of the 200 free was rather predictable. All of the top seeds were able to qualify, including Olympians Savannah King and Heather MacLean from UBC. Calgary Dino Lindsay Delmar led the charge as the only girl dipping under two minutes with a strong 1:59.32 prelim swim.
The men were led out by UNLV to UBC transfer Coleman Allen. The Thunderbird led by almost a second with a 1:47.54. Second up was Calgary’s David Woodman followed by three University of Victoria Vikes: Keegan Zanatta, Canadian Olympian Alec Page, and Nick Sinclair.
Four University of Calgary Dinos will square off with three University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in the final of the women’s 100m breast in an A-final that includes Olympic finalist Tera van Beilen (UBC) and Olympian Erica Morningstar (Calgary). They settled for 2-3 in the prelims though, with Fiona Doyle (Calgary), of Irish birth, posting the top time in 1:07.05.
On the men’s side, fifth year senior Jason Block (Calgary) wasted no time dipping under a minute as he destroyed the field with a 59.35. He was only 0.01 off the meet record posted by UBC’s Scott Dickens in his own fifth year with the UBC Thunderbirds on the way to a CIS Championship. Block will surely look to take down Dickens’ mark tonight in the final, racing in front of his home crowd. Almost a full two seconds back was Laval’s Kevin Deret (1:01.34) and chasing him was Konrad Bald out of McMaster (1:01.48).
Alberta’s Kendra Chernoff will enter as the top seed in the women’s 100 butterfly (1:00.07) followed by top entry from Guelph, Alisha Harracharan (1:00.45). Calgary rookie Alana Skocdopole swam into third (1:01.67). Surprise entry into the A-final was Erin Assman (UBC) who dropped over two seconds to squeak into 8th with a 1:02.53.
On the men’s side, Coleman Allen (UBC) took down what is likely one of (if not) the oldest meet records on the books. He raced to a 52.51 ahead of former Melvin-Stewart-era Olympian Tom Ponting‘s meet record at 52.62. Ponting won an Olympic medal on Canada’s medley relay team in each of the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympic games. Toronto swimmers Zack Chetrat (53.32) and rookie Edward Liu (53.74) were second and third, respectively and through to the final.
The women’s 400 IM prelim was topped by Genevieve Cantin (Laval), runner-up last year, in 4:47.18. Tianna Rissling of Calgary followed (4:47.64) ahead of last year’s winner Vanessa Treasure (Toronto, 4:48.19). No swimmer bested their entry time in this event, which may indicate some of the early effects of altitude on the longer events at this time of the meet.
Steven Bielby (McGill) was back on top of the 400 IM in 4:18.92, an event he has won before at this meet but tied for 3rd place in last year. The man he tied with in 2012, Patrick Cowan (UBC), will enter the finals in second (4:20.42) ahead of 2012 Olympian for Canada in this event, Alec Page (Victoria, 4:21.72). Look for Page to push the pace in a fast night of racing this evening in Calgary.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.