EINDHOVEN, The Netherlands – Annamay Pierse, Brent Hayden, Joe Bartoch and Ryan Cochrane all won gold medals for Canada on Saturday at the SwimCup 2007 swimming competition.

In the women’s 50 breaststroke, Pierse, of Vancouver, broke the Canadian record clocking 31.57 to eclipse the previous mark of 31.73 set by Rhiannon Leier of Winnipeg in 2003. Simone Weiler of Germany was second in 31.92 and Moniek Nijhuis of the Netherlands third in 32.03.

“The key for me has been a lot of hard work lately,” said Pierse, who also broke her national mark in the 200 breaststroke on Thursday and swims the 100 breaststroke on Sunday. “My breakout stroke is ber and I’m able to get into the rhythm of my swim quicker. But best part of my race was the last 25 metres. I like the way I got my head down and got to the wall. My goal was to break those records here so it feels great.”

In the men’s 50 freestyle, Hayden, of Vancouver, neared his Canadian record clocking 22.23 with Duje Draganja of Croatia second in 22.38 and three-time Olympic champion Pieter Van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands third in 22.51. Matt Rose of Victoria was fifth in 22.94.

“My goal was to get as close as possible to my Canadian record,” said Hayden, whose mark still stands at 22.19. “I knew I could get a victory but the goal was to get my times down to what I need in my preparation for the Olympic Games. Right now I’m feeling a lot more powerful at the start and that part of my race is getting a lot better. I really nailed it today.”

In the men’s 1,500 freestyle Cochrane, of Victoria, won an exciting race over German open water swimming star Thomas Lurz for his second gold of the competition. Cochrane clocked 15:10.83, Lurz followed in 15:11.12.

“It was a great race,” said Canadian national team coach Tom Johnson of Vancouver. “Ryan was in there fighting hard all the way through and won the race.”

In the men’s 50 butterfly, Bartoch, of London, Ont., was the winner in 24.34 edging Bastiaan Tamminga of the Netherlands second in 24.35 and his compatriot Joeri Verlinden third in 24.55.

“We talked to our swimmers before the meet and told them we’ve been on the podium quite a few times and let’s try to get to the top,” said Johnson. “It’s an indicator the team is starting to get confident and show poise. This is a pretty significant time change and a good rehearsal for Beijing where we’ll face the reality of morning finals.”

Mathieu Bois of Montreal added a bronze in the 50 breaststroke with Scott Dickens of Vancouver placing seventh.

“I had a great start,” said Bois, a bronze medallist at the Pan Am Games this past summer. “And my kick was steady and b. The race was smooth from start to finish. It’s the kind of feeling I want to have for my 100 breaststroke tomorrow (Sunday).”

Competition ends Sunday.

Saturday’s leading results at the SwimCup 2007 swimming competition

50 m breaststroke:
A Final:
Daren Mew, Croatia, 28.13
2. Lennart Stekelenburg, Netherlands, 28.18
3. Mathieu Bois, Montreal, 28.44
7. Scott Dickens, Vancouver, 29.05

50 butterfly:
A Final:
1. Joe Bartoch, London, Ont., 24.34
2. Bastiaan Tamminga, Netherlands, 24.35
3. Joeri Verlinden, Netherlands, 24.55

B Final:
5. Darryl Rudolf, Vancouver, 25.08

50 freestyle:
A Final:
1. Brent Hayden, Vancouver, 22.23
2. Duje Draganja, Croatia, 22.38
3. Pieter Van Den Hoogenband, Netherlands, 22.51
5. Matt Rose, Victoria, 22.94

1,500 freestyle:
1. Ryan Cochrane, Victoria, 15:10.83
2. Thomas Lurz, Germany, 15:11.12
3. Tom Vangeneugden, Netherlands, 15:15.93

50 breaststroke:
A Final:
1. Annamay Pierse, Vancouver, 31.57
2. Simone Weiler, Germany, 31.92
3. Moniek Nijhuis, Netherlands, 32.03