Kayla Sanchez, Maggie MacNeil Lead Field of PBs in Women’s 50 Free in Canada


  • Toronto Pan American Sports Center, Toronto, Canada
  • May 26-28, 2021
  • Long Course Meters (50m)
  • Results on MM: “Take5 HP Event”
  • Live Results

A best time for Kayla Sanchez and a 22.0 in the 50 free from Olympic veteran Brent Hayden highlighted the final day of racing at this week’s Swim Ontario High Performance racing event in Toronto.

Racing back-to-back in the final session of two on Friday, Sanchez and Hayden finished first in their respective 50 frees.

For Sanchez, the finish time of 24.81. That dips under her previous best of 24.94 done at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships. Since that meet, Sanchez has shifted her focus more toward the 100 and 200 freestyles, and hasn’t raced the 50 free in long course or short course since 2019. While probably not an individual threat in the 50 in Tokyo, her versatility will help in the upcoming ISL season, if she participates, and the improved speed will help boost Canada’s relays at the Olympics, where they are big medal contenders.

Maggie MacNeil, who won the 100 fly on Thursday in 56.14, placed 2nd in the 50 free in 25.21. That’s also a lifetime best, improving her 52.40 from the U.S. Open in November.

Those two led a field that was littered with best times, including 18-year old 4th-place finisher Hannah Cornish from the Uxbridge Swim Club, who marked a 25.79 to better her personal best of 26.13. That new swim makes Cornish, who is committed to swim in the U.S. at the University of Minnesota next season, the 8th-fastest Canadian 18-year old ever in the event.

Backstroke World Champion Kylie Masse shaved .03 seconds off her best time for 5th place in 25.99, and 23-year old Georgia Kidd placed 6th in 26.05 – a best time by almost four-tenths of a second.

A few minutes later, Brent Hayden led the men’s 50 free in 22.08. For the 37-year old, that is the second-fastest time of his comeback, which began shortly before the pandemic began and included with a FINA “A” cut of 21.97 in March of 2020 at the Des Moines Pro Swim Series meet just before the coronavirus pandemic began to shut down the sport globally.

Hayden represented Canada at the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympic Games, and returned to racing in 2019 after a 7 year retirement. He won a bronze medal in the 100 free at the 2012 Olympic Games and is the Canadian Record holder in 12 different events, including relays.

Josh Liendo was 2nd on Friday in 22.29 and Yuri Kisil was 3rd in 22.52.

The most-anticipated swim of the day came in the women’s 800 free, where 14-year old Summer McIntosh swam 8:49.43 as a follow-up to jaw-dropping 4:05 in the 400 free on Thursday. That’s about 3 seconds short of her best time. She swam the race with a clear purpose and resulted in a big negative split, going out in 4:27 and closing in 4:22.

McIntosh now heads into June with Olympic “A” cuts in the 400 and 1500 freestyles, but not the 800. This is significant, because if Canada is forced to cancel their Olympic Trials, already rescheduled twice, later this month because of the pandemic, she’ll be guaranteed a slot in the Olympics in at least two events.

Other Noteworthy Results:

  • 17-year old Alex Axon won the men’s 800 free in 8:05.76, which is an Olympic “B” standard swim and a lifetime best by 5 seconds.
  • Tess Cieplucha swam 4:40.04 in the 400 IM. That’s the third-best time of her career and her fastest time outside of a major international or Canadian championship event. Of note were her opening backstroke split of 1:04.38, which was a touch faster than she was when going a best time of 4:38 in 2019, and a breaststroke split of 1:19.08, which is a full second better than when she swam 4:38. 16-year old Katrina Bellio, who like McIntosh hails from the Etobicoke Swim Club, was 2nd in 4:46.16. That makes her the 5th-best Canadian 16-year old in history: one spot ahead of Tess Cieplucha.
  • Taylor Ruck swam 2:10.24 in the 200 back. She already has a spot secured on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team, though in the 100 free only and not this event.
  • Markus Thormeyer swam 2:05.38 in the 200 back. Like Ruck, he is pre-selected to the Canadian Olympic Team, only he was selected to swim the 200 back.

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1 year ago

Does anyone know who is coaching Summer McIntosh? Ben Titley or Ryan Mallette?

Rooky coach
Reply to  CanSwimmingfan#1
1 year ago

She just moved into Ben’s group less than a year ago. Summer is indeed ESWIM’s and late Kevin Thornbury’s product, with all due respect towards coach Titley

Reply to  Rooky coach
1 year ago

A 14 second drop in past year in 400 free to 4:05 is a significant and moves her from a top age group swimmer to a senior international contender. That does not always happen with age group stars.

1 year ago

I think Macintosh was not going for time as much as she was playing with splitting that 800. It was a pretty substantial negative split; she was out in a 4:27.

Former Big10
1 year ago

Is that a normal in-season swim for Thormeyer?

Reply to  Former Big10
1 year ago

That’s definitely a bit off but his 100 fr & Bk were both solid swims for this time of season.

On a side note Cole Pratt swam a 1:57.9 200 Back LC today in Calgary at a HP exempt meet for Alberta.

Cold Can
1 year ago

Did McIntosh negative split the 800 and did so in a practice suit or did I look incorrectly?

Last edited 1 year ago by Cold Can
1 year ago

Related to this article: in the women’s 400 IM nice 4.46.72 (PB improved by nearly 7 seconds) from 15 year-old Ella Jansen, who finished third just behind Katrina Bellio; whilst the 800 free was clearly a training race for Summer McIntosh, who has closed the last 100m with a speedy 59.65.
Unrelated to this article: in South Africa impressive 1.57.60 from 17 year-old Matthew Sates in the 200 IM. At Junior Worlds 2019 Sates swam a 2.05.01 in the 200 IM heats (and Carson Foster won gold in 1.58.46), so great improvement of almost 7 seconds and a half in 21 months for him. Moreover Sates has also swum a 51.83 in the 100 fly (55.23 at Junior Worlds).

Reply to  nuotofan
1 year ago

What was the point of Macintosh swimming the race that way I was really confused

Reply to  Kwrb77
1 year ago

I think that at this meet and at the meet three weeks ago she is just checking out her chances to be on Olympic team in different events. First it was 1500 and 200. Now it is 400. BTW her personal best at 800 was mentioned incorrectly. At least she was faster than that swimming 1500 by 16:15.

Go, Summer, go!
Reply to  Kwrb77
1 year ago

To test whether she can switch to a next gear and negative split the last 100? It’s not that I’m saying it’s easy for a girl of her age to swim 33 per 50m for first 700m! It’s still fast and tiring. So I guess her coach wanted her to try that. Kenna Smallegange who was leading the whole race by 2-3 body length, just died, for example. Summer? Go, Summer, go!

Rooky coach
Reply to  Go, Summer, go!
1 year ago

That’s exactly how I de-coded that swim, as well!

Reply to  Go, Summer, go!
1 year ago

She didn’t even try, lol. Strategy for her to nail it at trials.

Reply to  Kwrb77
1 year ago

She swam it within a set I believe and in a training suit, seems as though she was just matching pace with her teammate and they raced only the last 100m. Crazy

1 year ago

Did they end up swimming the 4×200 free for men?

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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