Four Canadian records, six second swims on busy Sunday for Canadians at Olympics

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BEIJING – Brent Hayden of Vancouver put his name on three Canadian records to highlight a strong preliminary round for Canadian swimmers on Sunday night at the Olympic Games.

Hayden qualified third for the men’s 200-metre freestyle semifinals breaking his Canadian record and helped Canada qualify for the final in the men’s 4X100 freestyle relay also in a national record.

On that opening relay leg, Hayden also bettered his Canadian mark in the 100 freestyle.

Julia Wilkinson of North York, Ont., is headed to the women’s 100 backstroke semis after eclipsing her Canadian mark.

In the men’s 200 freestyle, Hayden lowered his Canadian record to 1:46.40 posting the third fastest time in qualifying. Colin Russell of Oakville, Ont., also went under the previous mark qualifying fifth in 1:46.58. Hayden’s previous best was 1:46.85 set at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal.

‘’I’ve been trying to break that record for three years so I’m pleased,’’ said Hayden. ‘’I felt great in the water for my first race.’’

Dominik Meichtry of Switzerland was the top qualifier in 1:45.80, Jean Basson of South Africa second in 1:46.31 and Michael Phelps of the U.S., the world record holder, fourth in 1:46.48. The top-16 advance to Monday morning’s semifinals.

In the men’s 4X100 freestyle relay prelims, the U.S., racing without Phelps, still broke the world record clocking 3:12.23. France ranked second in 3:12.36 and Australia third in 3:12.41.

Canada with Hayden, Joel Greenshields of Calgary, Rick Say of Victoria and Russell ranked seventh in a Canadian record 3:13.68. The top eighth advance to Monday’s final. Hayden also clocked 48.28 on his lead-off swim too better his 48.43 national record in the 100 freestyle set in a golden performance at the world championships last year.

‘’We were very satisfied with our race,’’ said Hayden about the relay. ‘’Our goal was to go out fast and get a Canadian record. But we didn’t expect to break it by more than two seconds. So that’s very encouraging for the final.’’

In the women’s 100 backstroke, Wilkinson clocked the 10th fastest time to advance to Monday morning’s semifinals bettering her Canadian record to 1:00.38. Her previous mark was 1:00.59 set at the Summer Nationals in Winnipeg last month. Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe was the top qualifier in an Olympic record 59.00.

‘’I was hoping to go into the 59 second range,’’ said Wilkinson, who could potentially race in six events at the Games. ‘’But I’m delighted to get a second swim. It’s fun to have the record because every time you swim a personal best you break that record.’’

In the women’s 100 breaststroke, Jillian Tyler of Calgary, with a personal best, and Annamay Pierse of Edmonton advanced to the semis finishing 10th and 13th respectively in the preliminaries.

Stephanie Horner of Beaconsfield, Que., and Savannah King of Vancouver ranked 11th and 19th with personal bests in the women’s 400 freestyle prelims and were eliminated. Jake Tapp of Langley, B.C., was 31st in the men’s 100 backstroke and also didn’t advance.

Finals start at 10 p.m. (EDT) in Canada on Sunday night.

Full results at: http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/SW.shtml

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