Brent Hayden completes sprint freestyle sweep at Bell Grand Prix

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TORONTO – World champion Brent Hayden of Vancouver completed a sprint freestyle golden sweep with a victory in the men’s 200-metre race at the Bell Grand Prix swimming competition which concluded on Sunday at the Etobicoke Olympium.

Hayden clocked 1:49.54 seconds for the victory with Andrew Hurd of Toronto second in 1:50.39 and Colin Russell of Barrie, Ont., third in 1:52.22.

Hayden also won the 50 and 100 freestyle races this weekend.

Other winners in men’s competition were Scott Dickens of Vancouver in the 50 breaststroke, Callum Ng of Vancouver in the 100 backstroke, Adam Sioui of Calgary in the 200 butterfly and Francesco Zuccaro of Etobicoke in the 1,500 freestyle.

In that 1,500 freestyle, Zuccaro clocked a personal best 15:29.84 to upset Canadian record holder Ryan Cochrane of Victoria second in 15:36.48. Jarrod Ballem of Calgary, one of Canada’s top open water swimmers, was third in 15:54.85.

“With Ryan swimming fast I changed my tactics for this race and it worked,” said Zuccaro. “I started out faster than usual. Ryan was able to stay with me up until 1,100 metres and then after that I tried to have faster splits until the finish. I died in the last 150 metres but I was too far ahead of him at that point. I’m really happy with the win.”

In women’s competition, Erica Morningstar of Calgary collected her fourth gold and also completed a sprint freestyle golden sweep with a victory in the 200 freestyle. She clocked 2:01.54 with Kevyn Peterson of Calgary second in 2:02.08 and Chanelle Charron-Watson of Quebec City third in 2:02.86.

Other winners in women’s competition were Annamay Pierse of Vancouver in the 50 breaststroke, Elizabeth Wycliffe of Kingston, Ont., in the 100 backstroke, MacKenzie Downing of Victoria in the 200 butterfly and Tanya Hunks of Vancouver in the 800 freestyle.

Wycliffe also had a big day. She broke the short course meet record in the preliminaries clocking 59.85 which eclipsed the previous mark of 1:01.60 held by Kelly Stefanyshyn of Vancouver. She also neared the 59.33 national record held by Marylyn Chang. This weekend’s competition format had short course races for the morning prelims and long course races for the final.

In the final, Wycliffe clocked 1:02.62 less than a second off Erin Gammel’s Canadian record. Stefanyshyn was second in 1:03.38 and Katy Murdoch of Calgary third in 1:03.49.

“I was a little disappointed with my time in the final,” said Wycliffe who broke the Canadian short course record in the 200 backstroke on Friday. “I opened too fast and really paid for it in the end. It’s still a good experience and I was glad to get some long course races in this early in the season. It’s really going to help us in our Olympic preparation.”

Pierre Lafontaine, Swimming Canada’s national coach and CEO, discussed the importance of this weekend’s competition.

“These are the athletes who’ll compete at the Olympic trials next year and this was one of the last times they’ll race head-on before those trials,” said Lafontaine. “The athletes showed they were confident in their racing and confident in their training programs. Many athletes were not fully rested at this meet but they still delivered some great racing despite the fatigue from heavy training.”

Sunday’s leading results at the Bell Grand Prix swimming competition:

Men
50 m breaststroke:
1. Scott Dickens, Vancouver, 28.83
2. Mike Brown, Calgary, 29.05
3. Michel Boulianne, Montreal, 29.83

100 m backstroke:
1. Callum Ng, Vancouver, 56.42
2. Keith Beavers, Waterloo, Ont., 56.99
3. Matt Hawes, Vancouver, 57.13

200 m butterfly:
1. Adam Sioui, Calgary, 2:02.69
2. Tobias Oriwol, Pointe-Claire, Que., 2:03.10
3. Stefan Hirniak, Victoria, 2:03.24

200 m freestyle:
1. Brent Hayden, Vancouver, 1:49.54
2. Andrew Hurd, Toronto, 1:50.39
3. Colin Russell, Barrie, Ont., 1:52.22

1,500 m freestyle:
1. France Zuccaro, Etobicoke, Ont., 15:29.94
2. Ryan Cochrane, Victoria, 15:36.48
3. Jarrod Ballem, Calgary, 15:54.85

4X100 m medley relay:
1. UBC Dolphins, Vancouver, 3:46.18
2. University of Calgary, 3:47.32
3. Laval Rouge et Or, Quebec City, 3:52.82

Women
50 m breaststroke:
1. Annamay Pierse, Vancouver, 32.39
2. Michele Laprade, Montreal, 33.10
3. Bronwyn Pasloski, Whitehorse, 33.17

100 m backstroke:
1. Elizabeth Wycliffe, Kingston, Ont., 1:02.62
2. Kelly Stefanyshyn, Vancouver, 1:03.38
3. Katy Murdoch, Calgary, 1:03.49

200 m butterfly:
1. MacKenzie Downing, Victoria, 2:10.16
2. Samantha Cheverton, Pointe-Claire, Que., 2:15.20
3. Tanya Hunks, Vancouver, 2:15.49

200 m freestyle:
1. Erica Morningstar, Calgary, 2:01.54
2. Kevyn Peterson, Calgary, 2:02.08
3. Chanelle Charron-Watson, Quebec City, 2:02.86

800 m freestyle:
1. Tanya Hunks, Vancouver, 8:41.83
2. Savannah King, Vancouver, 8:45.87
3. Brittany Reimer, Vancouver, 8:49.27

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