Big pre-Olympic test for Canadian swimmers

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South Korean Park Tae-Hwan and Australians Leisel Jones, Stephanie Rice Kenrick Monk amongst Top International contingent

VANCOUVER (ISN) – Ten members of Canada’s Olympic swimming team, including Brent Hayden of Mission, B.C., will face a strong international field at the Mel Zajac Jr. International meet, part of Swimming Canada’s Canada Cup series, set for May 25-27 at the University of British Columbia Aquatic Centre in Vancouver.

Hayden was one of 31 Canadian swimmers nominated to the Olympic squad following the national team trials, which concluded last month in Montreal. The 100-metre freestyle world champion in 2007 and world silver medallist last year, Hayden qualified in the 50 and 100 free and 4X100 freestyle relay at trials.

Hayden, Scott Dickens of Ancaster, Ont., a double breaststroke Olympic qualifier and freestyler Tommy Gossland of Vancouver are Canada’s men’s Olympic team entries. Besides the Olympians a strong group of senior and junior swimmers will chase down medals for Canada as well.

“Having great talent from Australia, Korea and the US at the meet really helps create a competitive atmosphere, which everyone can feed off of,” said 2-time Olympian, Scott Dickens.

“This meet will be a great opening to my racing preparation towards the Olympics later this summer, as I can use these performances and build on them as I get closer to London.”

Other Canadian Olympic nominees scheduled to compete are women breaststrokers Martha McCabe of Toronto, a world championship medallist in the 200 last year, Tera van Beilen of Oakville, Ont., a revelation at trials qualifying in the 100 and 200 and Jillian Tyler of Calgary.

Distance freestyler Savannah King of Vancouver, freestyle relay Olympic qualifiers Heather MacLean of Etobicoke and Amanda Reason of Windsor, Ont. as well as Erica Morningstar of Calgary, the Canadian record holder in the 100 freestyle and 200 IM, round out the women’s Olympic side for Canada at the meet.

The Australians are also fielding 10 of their 44 Olympians including the legendary breaststroker Leisel Jones, a three-time Olympic champion and seven-time world champion; Stephanie Rice, the triple Olympic champion from the Beijing Games, and freestyler Kenrick Monk.

South Koreans sensation Park Tae-Hwan, the reigning Olympic and world champion in the 400 freestyle, will also be in attending.

Preliminaries are at 9 a.m. and finals at 5:30 p.m. each day.

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