Tera Van Beilen and Martha McCabe near world’s best time at Olympic trials


2008 Olympic team total surpassed

MONTREAL (March 31, 2012) – Tera Van Beilen of Oakville, Ont., and Martha McCabe of Toronto swam the second and third fastest times in the world this year to land the two Olympic nomination spots in the women’s 200 breaststroke before a sell out crowd at the Olympic trials presented by RBC.

McCabe was one of six Canadian swimmers to add their names to Swimming Canada’s nomination list. That brings the overall total to 29, two more than for the Beijing Games in 2008. The competition ends Sunday.

The other new nominees are Victoria Poon of Montreal, Heather MacLean of Etobicoke, Ont., Alex Komarnycky of Victoria, Joe Bartoch of London, Ont., and Tobias Oriwol of Toronto.

In the women’s 200 breaststroke, Van Beilen clocked two minutes and 24.03 seconds to nab a second Olympic assignment. McCabe, the world championship bronze medallist followed in 2:24.81. Both train in Vancouver under breaststroke coaching guru Jozsef Nagy.

‘’This has definitely been the best week of my life,’’ said Van Beilen, 18, who also qualified in the 100 breaststroke. ‘’In the race I heardd the crowd roar and that helped me push through the agony.’’

McCabe paid tribute to her training mates at the National Swim Centre including world record holder Annamay Pierse of Edmonton who placed fifth and fell short in her bid to make the Olympic team.

‘’We wouldn’t be where we are today without Annamay,’’ said McCabe. ‘’This was my first national race in some time that she wasn’t there beside me pulling me along. She’s done amazing things and still has that world record and you can’t take that away from her.’’

Pierse contracted a very serious illness (Dengue fever) when she competed at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

‘’It’s been the hardest two-three years of my life,’’ said a tearful Pierse, a silver medallist at the 2009 worlds. ‘’I didn’t have enough time. I’m heartbroken I won’t be in London but I’ll be 100 percent behind them. They are my family.’’

Another thrilling race was the women’s 100 freestyle as Julia Wilkinson of Stratford, Ont., collected a third and fourth Olympic assignment with the win in 54.73. Poon was second in 54.86, MacLean third in 55.06 and Samantha Cheverton of Pointe-Claire, Que., fourth in 55.24.

‘’Swimming all these events is not as hard as four years ago,’’ said Wilkinson, who raced in six events at the 2008 Olympics. ‘’Four years ago I was so up and down and not sleeping. Now I feel great with one event to go. It’s experience and I learned that when you have a bad or great race you have to shake it off and move on.’’

The four times combined also qualified Canada for the 4X100 freestyle relay meaning Poon and MacLean get their Olympic ticket and Cheverton notches a second assignment. MacLean joins her sister Brittany on the Olympic team. It is the second set of siblings on the squad. Colin and Sinead Russell of Burlington, Ont., both qualified earlier this week.

‘’My sister’s my best friend and we are going to be doing this journey together,’’ said Heather MacLean. ‘’My 100 has been my best event all year and I knew I just had to get in there and swim with my heart and that’s what showed.’’

In the women’s 800 freestyle, Savannah King of Vancouver was the winner in 8:30.79 qualifying for a second event while Komarnycky followed in 8:33.32 just beating the qualifying standard by a half second.

It’s a second Games for King.

‘’It takes the cake to know I’m going to a second Olympics,’’ said King. ‘’The mental aspect is the toughest part of these trials. You really got to focus on what you’ve done over the last training block and really have confidence in yourself and not worry about the times or anyone else.’’

It was Komarnycky’s fifth and final attempt to land a berth for a second Olympics.

‘’I knew exactly what I needed to do,’’ she said. ‘’I cracked under the pressure the first couple of days and I just didn’t want that to happen again. I just reset my mind and made new focuses and new goals.’’

On the men’s side, Joe Bartoch of London, Ont., and Tobias Oriwol of Toronto added their names to the nomination list with victories in the 100 butterfly and 200 backstroke respectively. It will be a second Olympics for both swimmers.

‘’I’m a little disappointed I really thought I was going to go faster,’’ said Oriwol. ‘’Looking back on the rest of the meet, crazy things happen with a lot of pressure and all I wanted at the end of the day was to be on the team.’’

Competition ends Sunday at the Olympic Park Sport Centre. Preliminaries are 10 a.m. and finals at 7 p.m. Sportsnet will carry finals live at 7 p.m.

Canadian swimmers nominated to Olympic team after day of six at Olympic swimming trials:

Men (12): Joe Bartoch, London, Ont. (100 butterfly); Ryan Cochrane, Victoria (400 freestyle); Scott Dickens, Burlington, Ont. (100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke); Charles Francis, Cowansville, Que. (100 backstroke); Thomas Gossland, Vancouver (4X100 freestyle relay); Brent Hayden, Vancouver (100 freestyle, 4X100 freestyle relay); Richard Hortness, Medicine Hat, Alta. (4X100 freestyle relay); Tobias Oriwol, Toronto (200 backstroke); Alec Page, Victoria (400 IM); Colin Russell, Burlington, Ont., (4X100 freestyle relay); David Sharpe, Halifax (200 buttefly); Blake Worsley, Victoria (200 freestyle).

Women (17): Samantha Cheverton, Pointe-Claire, Que. (200 freestyle, 4X200 freestyle relay, 4X100 freestyle relay); Stephanie Horner, Beaconsfield, Que. (400 IM); Barbara Jardin, Montreal ( 200 freestyle, 4X200 freestyle relay); Savannah King, Vancouver (400 freestyle, 800 freestyle); Alexa Komarnycky, Etobicoke (800 freestyle); Audrey Lacroix, Montreal (200 butterfly); Brittany MacLean, Etobicoke, Ont. (400 freestyle, 4X200 freestyle relay); Heather MacLean, Etobicoke (4X100 freestyle relay); Martha McCabe, Toronto (200 breaststroke); Victoria Poon, Montreal (4X100 freestyle relay); Erica Morningstar, Calgary (200 IM); Amanda Reason, Windsor, Ont. (4X200 freestyle relay); Katerine Savard, Quebec City (100 butterfly); Sinead Russell, Burlington, Ont. (100 backstroke); Jillian Tyler, Calgary (100 breaststroke); Tera Van Beilen, Oakville, Ont. (100 breaststroke); Julia Wilkinson, Stratford, Ont. (100 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 4X100 freestyle relay and 200 IM)

HD Video

Rights free HD Video newsreels from Montreal including Flash Interviews with top performing athletes as well as B-Roll are also available to media outlets free of charge via www.sendtonews.com <http://www.sendtonews.com/> .

Website: www.swimming.ca <http://www.swimming.ca/>  

Christian J. Stewart
Christian is a professional photographer and media professional based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Currently working as the Assistant General Manager for Victoria HarbourCats Baseball Club, a Senior Contributing Editor and photographer at Independent Sports News (ISN) and operating his own freelance photography and media/pr company.