Victoria’s Wilkinson Takes Swimming Gold at U.S. Grand Prix

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COLUMBIA, Missouri (February 12, 2012) – Julia Wilkinson of Victoria, Sinead Russell of Burlington, Ont., and Kier Maitland of Edmonton each won an individual gold medal to conclude a very successful U.S., Grand Prix swimming competition for the Canadian team.

The Canadians are tuning up for the Olympic trials March 27 to April 1 in Montreal.

In the women’s 200 individual medley, Wilkinson staved off a strong finish from Erica Morningstar of Calgary clocking 2:13.10.  Morningstar, the Canadian record holder, followed in 2:13.56.  Stephanie Horner of Victoria was eighth.

‘’I was hoping to go into the 2:12 range but I’m happy with the win,’’ said Wilkinson.  ‘’I’ve been working hard on the breaststroke leg in training and this is the first time it translated into success in a race.  I feel confident, in shape and more in control.’’

Five Canadians were in the women’s 200 backstroke final with Russell earning the gold in 2:09.47.  Hilary Caldwell of Surrey, B.C., was second in 209.84, Barbara Jardin of Montreal was third in 2:11.33 and Dominique Bouchard of North Bay, Ont., fourth in 2:12.56.  Brittany MacLean of Etobicoke, Ont., was eighth.

‘’I’ve had a tough weekend so it was nice finish off the meet with a win,’’ said Russell.  ‘’It was a good strong race.’’

In the men’s 1,500 freestyle, it was a 1-2-3 Canadian finish with Maitland first, Keegan Zanatta of Victoria was second and Will Brothers of Victoria third.  Eric Hedlin of Victoria was fifth.

‘’This is a good sign for the trials,’’ said Maitland. ‘’The time was good as were my stroke and split times.  When I’m fully prepared for the trials, I should be able to drop a lot of time.’’

In the women’s 100 freestyle, Victoria Poon of Montreal was third and Sandrine Mainville of Montreal fifth.

There were three more silver for the Canadian men.  In the 200 IM, Andrew Ford of Guelph was second with Alec Page of Victoria fourth and Bogdan Knezevic of Etobicoke sixth.

In the 200 backstroke, Tobias Oriwol of Toronto won silver with Charles Francis of Montreal fourth and Matthew Swanston of Newmarket, Ont., seventh.

Finally in the men’s 100 freestyle, Richard Hortness of London, Ont., was second and Colin Russell of Burlington eighth.

Swim Ontario foursomes won both 4X100 medley relays.  Placing first in the women’s race were Russell, Erin Stamp of Guelph, Paige Schultz of Toronto and MacLean.  In the men’s Oriwol, Warren Barnes of Toronto, Joe Bartoch of London and Colin Russell.

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