Scott Dickens beats Olympic A standard in preliminaries at CN Swimming Trials

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Scott Dickens of Burlington, Ont., met the qualifying A standard in the men’s 100-metre breaststroke in Tuesday morning’s preliminaries to open the 2008 CN Swimming Trials – the Olympic selection meet for the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Dickens clocked one minute and 01.56 seconds in the sixth and final heat in the event to beat the A standard by a mere 0.01 seconds.

Dickens can earn a spot on the Olympic team in Tuesday night’s final with a top-two finish.

Mike Brown of Calgary was the next fastest in 1:01.82 and Mathieu Bois of Montreal followed in 1:02.24.

“I expected to go a little faster than that,” said Dickens, the Pan Am Games champion. “I reached my goal and I’m looking forward to tonight. It’ll be anyone’s race. Hopefully I’ll come out on top. I just plan to swim my own race tonight.”

No A standards were met in Tuesday’s other prelim events.

In the men’s 400 individual medley, the top three qualifiers were Keith Beavers of Orangeville, Ont., in 4:21.05, Brian Johns of Richmond, B.C., in 4:22.59 and Tobias Oriwol of Pointe-Claire, Que., in 4:25.16.

“I felt great,” said Beavers. “I was a little bit worried when I saw Brian go 4:22. But I was confident going into the meet and focused on my own race. I’m really pleased with the fastest time.”

In the women’s 400 IM, Tanya Hunks of Vancouver was the fastest clocking 4:47.16 followed by Alexa Komarnycky of Toronto in 4:49.87 and Barbara Jardin of Montreal third in 4:49.89.

“I’ve really concentrated on my pool events this year,” said Hunks, also one of Canada’s top open water swimmers. “I was nervous getting up on the blocks this morning but as soon as I dove in there I duplicated what I’ve done this year. Tonight is going to be exciting.”

In the women’s 100 butterfly, Audrey Lacroix of Pont-Rouge, Que., came in first in 1:00.12 with Canadian record holder MacKenzie Downing of Whitehorse second in 1:01:17 and Geneviève Saumur of Montreal third in 1:01.19.

“The time was satisfying but I lacked concentration,” said Lacroix, vying for her first Olympic team. “With the energy I had and the way I felt I think I could have done better.”

In the men’s 400 freestyle, Ryan Cochrane of Victoria was number-one in 3:54.08, Andrew Hurd of Toronto followed in 3:57.79 and Ray Betuzzi of Calgary third in 3:58.45.

The top-eight racers from the prelims race in tonight’s A final. To gain an Olympic spot, the winner in the A final needs to meet the B standard while the second place finisher must have met the A standard in the prelims or final.

The competition is also a selection meet for the 2008 Paralympic Games for athletes with a disability set for this September in Beijing.

Benoit Huot of Longueuil, Que., was the top qualifier in the 100 breaststroke while Donovan Tildesley of Vancouver topped the field in the men’s 400 freestyle. On the women’s side, Brittany Gray of Barrie, Ont., was the best qualifier in the 100 breaststroke.

The finals start at 6 p.m. at the Olympic Park Pool in Montreal.

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