MONTREAL (ISN) – Victoria’s Alec Page and Blake Worsley are two of the first Canadian swimmers to punch their ticket for the London 2012 Olympics after winning their races Tuesday to open the Canadian Olympic swimming trials in Montreal.
The pair were two of six swimmers to earn their nominations to Canada’s 2012 Olympic team on the first night of finals. The others were Savannah King of Vancouver, Scott Dickens of Burlington, Ont., Brittany MacLean of Etobicoke, Ont. and Katerine Savard of Quebec City.
In the men’s 400 individual medley, the 18-year-old Page made his move on the second length of the breaststroke and powered to the finish in 4:17.78. Andrew Ford of Guelph, Ont., was second in 4:23.22.
”I’ve really worked hard on back and breaststroke and it seems to have paid off because I didn’t lose any ground on either,” said Page. ”On the last length I felt pain but we train for that so it just goes out of your mind.”
The closest race was the men’s 200 freestyle as Worsley snared top spot in 1:49.06. Chad Bobrosky of Calgary, Hassaan Abdel-Khalik of Etobicoke, Tobias Oriwol of Toronto and Stefan Hirniak of Victoria were all within a second of the victor.
”It’s a high pressure situation and keeping my calm was the key,” said Worsley, who led at every split. ”You have to work with whatever is happening throughout the race. I’ve wanted to go to the Olympics since I was a little kid and I’m excited to see what I can do there this summer.”
In the women’s 400 freestyle, MacLean clocked 4:06.08 to lower the previous mark of 4:07.32 set by Brittany Reimer of Vancouver at the 2005 world championships in Montreal. Reimer also holds two other national marks set at those Montreal worlds.
”I’m so excited,” said MacLean, a grade 12 student, after embracing her sister Heather – also an Olympic team contender and her clubmates at Etobicoke Swimming. ” It wasn’t only for me but all my family here. I’ve looked up to my sister my whole life.”
Savannah King of Vancouver also went under the Olympic qualifying standard to add her name to the nomination sheet clocking 4:07.02.
In the men’s 100 breaststroke, Dickens neared his Canadian mark for the second time Tuesday winning the final in 1:00.43 after going 1:00.39 in the prelims. Dickens was on the 2004 team but suffered a crushing disappointment when he fell short in 2008 as the number-one seed.
”I couldn’t be happier,” said Dickens. ”This meet was all about getting the job done and getting on the team. This year was about swimming smart. Doing what I needed to do compete with the world in London. We broke down everything in my training and took a risk. It was really scary at the start but it paid off.”
The biggest cheer of the night was in the women’s 100 butterfly as Savard, 18, took the gold in 58.45 edging MacKenzie Downing of Whitehorse second in 58.86.
”It was an incredible experience,” said Savard, who holds the Canadian record in the event at 57.80 set last fall. ”I was a little disappointed with the time but it’s only going to make me work harder heading towards the Games.”
Competition runs from until Sunday at the Olympic Park Sport Centre. Preliminaries are at 10 a.m., and the finals are at 7 p.m. each day. Sportsnet will carry finals live each evening.