MONTREAL (ISN) – Victoria based Julia Wilkinson and Stephanie Horner booked their tickets to London after winning their respective 100m backstroke and 400m IM races at the Olympic swimming trials in Montreal Wednesday.
Five more names were added to Swimming Canada’s Olympic nomination list for a total of 11 after two days. They were Wilkinson, David Sharpe of Halifax, Sinead Russell of Burlington, Ont., Horner of Beaconsfield, Que., and Charles Francis of Cowansville, Que.
In the women’s 100 backstroke, the Victoria-based Wilkinson was the winner in 59.85 seconds for her second career Olympic nomination. In the prelims, Wilkinson was the top qualifier despite ripping her nail on the lane rope.
”The 59 second time was something I didn’t want to think about anymore,” said Wilkinson. ”You have to think abut the process. I knew I just had to repeat this morning’s performance minus the lane rope. When I finished I said finally!.”’
Russell, the Canadian record holder, secured her first Olympic nomination by following Wilkinson 1:00.45. Both times were under the FINA Olympic qualifying standard.
”I’ve been training my whole life for this,” said Russell, 18. ”To have it finally happen was amazing.”
The men’s 200 butterfly provided an incredible result to open the evening. Sharpe, who got the eighth and last qualifying spot for the evening final, shocked everyone but himself to win the race in 1:58.81. Zack Chetrat of Toronto was second in 1:58.83.
”I expected to win,” said Sharpe. ”Nobody else did but that’s how I need to think if I’m going to finish first. This morning I made some bad mistakes and it didn’t go the way I wanted. I knew the adjustments I had to make and it paid off.”
In the women’s 400 IM, Stephanie Horner of Beaconsfield, Que. and who trains in Victoria, returned home to earn a return trip to the Games clocking 4:42.25. Alexa Komarnycky of Etobicoke, who trains with Horner in Victoria, followed in 4:42.69.
”I was so proud of my teammates yesterday and I wanted it to be my turn today,” said Horner. ”I went out more smooth, relaxed and controlled. It’s really the second half of the race when I increased my rhythm.”
In the men’s 100 backstroke, Francis solidified his ranking as the number-one swimmer in the event winning in 54.84 for his first Olympic nomination.
”I lacked a bit energy at the end,” said Francis, who fell short of his personal best set at the world championships last year. ”But at last I made the team. I have no idea what happened during the race. I saw my cheering section when I took off and saw them again when I finished.”
Competition continues Thursday at the Olympic Park Sport Centre.