Annamay Pierse produces record smashing performance at world swimming trials

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MONTREAL– Annamay Pierse of Vancouver entered a new stratosphere with her victory in the women’s 200-metre breaststroke on Friday at the world championship swimming trials.

Pierse demolished her Canadian record clocking two minutes and 20.71 seconds to eclipse her previous mark of 2:23.77 set in a sixth place finish at the 2008 Olympics. It was also the third fastest time in history and the fastest time in the world this year.

She missed the world record by 0.49 seconds.

“I was going for the world record tonight” said Pierse, also the 100 breaststroke winner Thursday in Canadian record time. “But I know where I stand in my preparation for the world championships and I know with all the hard work I’m doing, it’s where I’m suppose to be. When you’ve done the work it helps you deal with the pressure.”

Pierse expects the race in Rome to be the fastest in history for the event.

“It’ll probably take a sub 2:20 time to win,” she said. “It’s going to be a really tough field and they are all going to be very fast. I’m going to go for it.”

Martha McCabe, who trains alongside Pierse under coach Josef Nagey in Vancouver, also went under the previous national record finishing in 2:23.08. She also went under the qualifying standard to make the world team.

This week’s competition at the outdoor pool at parc Jean-Drapeau, will determine the Canadian swimming team for the world aquatic championships scheduled for July 19 to August 2 in Rome. Three more swimmers were nominated to the world team to bring the total to 27.

Three more Canadian records fell on Friday bringing the three-day total to 10.

Pascal Wollach of Calgary, buoyed by a congratulations message from Mark Tewksbury, broke the Canadian record in the 50 backstroke clocking 25.37. The previous mark was 25.72 set by Callum Ng in 2007. Wollach lowered Tewksbury’s 17-year-old Canadian record in the 100 backstroke on Wednesday to gain a world team spot.

Scott Dickens of Vancouver completed a golden sweep in the breaststroke winning the 200 race in 2:11.40. Paul Kornfeld of Calgary snared the second world team spot in the event finishing in 2:11.72. Dickens also won the 50 and 100 breaststrokes, both in Canadian record time.

“Qualifying for this event was really important to me,” said Dickens. “I have a lot of room to improve in that race and today felt like I wasn’t even near what I can do. This whole week has meant a lot to me after not making the Olympics last year. I’m back and showing people you can persevere.”

In the women’s 100 butterfly, Audrey Lacroix of Montreal earned a second world championship swim winning in 59.40. In the prelims, Kendra Chernoff of Saskatoon broke the Canadian record but couldn’t repeat the performance in the final and missed the world team standard.

In the men’s 100 butterfly, Canadian record holder Joe Bartoch of London, Ont., added his name to the world team list winning in 52.70 seconds. “It feels great, I was getting really nervous about this meet,” said Bartoch. “But I just wanted to win. It’s my race and I’m going to hold on as long as I can. My start got me the win today.”

In the 400 freestyles, Ryan Cochrane and Alexa Komarnycky, both of Victoria, met the standards in their respective races.

“I’m happy to meet the standard but I was hoping to go faster tonight,” said Cochrane, the Olympic bronze medallist in the 1,500 freestyle last year. “I would love to be on the podium in this event at worlds after coming so close to making the final at the Olympic last year.”

The Etobicoke Swim Club broke the national club record in the women’s 4X100 freestyle relay. Lauren Earp, Amanda Reason, Brittany MacLean and Heather McLean clocked 3:43.62.

Gabrielle Soucisse of Montreal won the women’s 50 backstroke.

Competition ends Saturday. Preliminaries are at 9 a.m. and finals start at 4 p.m. The finals will be carried live on CBC and Radio-Canada.

Full results available

Friday’s medallists at the world championships swimming trials in Montreal

MEN

50 backstroke: 1. Pascal Wollach, Calgary, 25.37 (Canadian record); 2. Charles Francis, Montreal, 25.88; 3. Thomas Sacco, Toronto, 26.57.

100 butterfly: 1.Joe Bartoch, London, Ont., 52.70; 2. Thomas Kindler, Montreal, 52.92; 3. Stefan Hirniak, Victoria, 53.53.

200 breaststroke: 1. Scott Dickens, Vancouver, 2:11.40; 2. Paul Kornfeld, Calgary, 2:11.72; 3. Mathieu Bois, Montreal, 2:12.00.

400 freestyle: 1. Ryan Cochrane, Victoria, 3:49.73; 2. Michael Zoldos, 3:50.93; 3. Hassaan Abdel-Khalik, Etobicoke, Ont., 3:54.29.

4X100 freestyle relay: 1. University of Calgary, 3:22.23; 2. Toronto Swim Club, 3:25.42; 3. island Swimming, Victoria, 3:26.00.

WOMEN

50 backstroke: 1. Gabrielle Soucisse, Montreal, 29.04; 2. Sinead Russell, Oakville, Ont., 29.16; 3. Tess Simpson, Cornwall, Ont., 29.38.

100 butterfly: 1. Audrey Lacroix, Montreal, 59.40; 2. Kendra Chernoff, Saskatoon, 59.48; 3. MacKenzie Downing, Whitehorse, 1:00.14.

200 breaststroke: 1. Annamay Pierse, Vancouver, 2:20.71 (Canadian record); 2. Martha McCabe, Vancouver, 2:23.08; 3. Ashley McGregor, Pointe-Claire, Que., 2 :30.19.

400 freestyle: 1. Alexa Komarnycky, Victoria, 4:11.77; 2. Savannah King, Vancouver, 4:12.84; 3. Barbara Jardin, Montreal, 4:13.77.

4X100 freestyle relay: 1. Etobicoke Swim Club, 3:43.62 (Canadian club record); 2. Toronto Swim Club, 3:50.41; 3. Pointe-Claire Swim Club, 3:50.54.

Canadians qualified for world championships after second day of world team trials:

Men (14): Pascal Wollach, Calgary; Jake Tapp, Langley, B.C.,; Colin Russell, Oakville, Ont.,; Ryan Cochrane Victoria, Blake Worsley, Victoria; Joel Greenshields, Edmonton; Anders McIntyre, Vernon, B.C.; Brent Hayden, Vancouver; Stefan Hirniak, Victoria; Jordan Hartney, Vancouver; Scott Dickens, Vancouver; Mathieu Bois, Montreal; Joe Bartoch, London, Ont.; Paul Kornfeld, Calgary.

Women (13): Heather MacLean, Etobicoke, Ont.; Alexandra Gabor, Whitehorse; Geneviève Saumur, Montreal; Julia Wilkinson, North York, Ont.; Audrey Lacroix, Montreal; Tanya Hunks, Vancouver; Sinead Russell, Oakville, Ont.; Gabrielle Soucisse, Montreal; Victoria Poon, Montreal; Alexa Komarnycky, Victoria; Annamay Pierse, Vancouver; Amanda Reason, Windsor, Ont.; Martha McCabe, Vancouver.

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