Meet records for Wilkinson, Lacroix and Sioui to conclude Mel Zajac Jr swimming competition

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VANCOUVER – Olympic team nominees Julia Wilkinson of Stratford, Ont., Audrey Lacroix of Pont-Rouge, Que., and Adam Sioui of Calgary set meet records on Sunday to conclude the Mel Zajac Jr., International swimming competition.

The meet, also the first stop on the Bell Grand Prix circuit, featured the 27–member Canadian team that was nominated for this summer’s Olympics at the CN Swimming Trials last month.

The finals this weekend were held in the morning with prelims the previous evening which will be the case in Beijing.

In the women’s 100 freestyle, Wilkinson racing for the first time this weekend with the new Speedo LZR suit clocked 55.05 seconds for her third gold medal of the competition. The eclipsed the previous meet mark of 55.17 held by American Jenny Thompson since 2000. Erica Morningstar of Calgary was second in 55.55 and Bronte Barratt of Australia third in 56.19.

“Having the LZR on really picked me up this week,” said Wilkinson. ” This meet seemed a bit daunting because I was coming off some hard training but it turned out really well. The suit was great. I felt I was cutting through and soaring above the water. It’s a great suit and it’s exciting we’re going to have this for the Olympics.”

The LZR has been worn by all but one of the international swimmers who have set 19 long-course world records since the suit was unveiled in January.

In the women’s 200 butterfly, Lacroix bettered a 16-year-old meet record clocking 2:10.65. The previous best was 2:11.91. Stephanie Horner of Beaconsfield, Que., was second in 2:12.16 and MacKenzie Downing of Whitehorse third in 2:13.84.

“There were some things I needed to work on and that’s what I focused on today,” said Lacroix, also the 100 butterfly winner on Saturday. “It was a very good race for me. I was pleased with how I improved from the preliminaries.”

Other winners in women’s competition included Jillian Tyler of Calgary in the 50 breaststroke and Gabrielle Soucisse of Beaconsfield in the 100 backstroke.

Sioui also beat another long standing meet record in the men’s 200 butterfly clocking 1:58.12. That bettered the 1:58.69 swam by Takashi Yamamoto of Japan in 2000. Stefan Hirniak of Victoria was second in 1:59.80 and Tim Ruse of Pointe-Claire, Que., third in 2:04.10.

Other winners in men’s competition included Ryan Cochrane of Victoria in the 1,500 freestyle, Tobias Oriwol of Pointe-Claire in the 100 backstroke and Scott Dickens of Burlington, Ont., in the 50 breaststroke. Cochrane also won three gold this weekend.

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