swim canada-2

November 24, 2012, TORONTO (ISN) – Swimmers broke four meet records, a Canadian club record and even a Jamaican record on the first day of the Canada Cup at the Etobicoke Olympium Friday.

The UBC Dolphins set a new Canadian club record in the women’s 200-metre medley relay, as the team of Lauren Lavigna, Noemie Thomas and 2012 Olympians Martha McCabe and Heather MacLean turned in a time of 1:51.54.

“It’s exciting, it’s always nice to be a Canadian record holder and be in the record books. It’s a good feeling,” said McCabe, who will represent Canada at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Istanbulfrom Dec. 12-16 alongside Thomas and MacLean.

“This is a really good way to get off the blocks one last time (before the world short-course championships) and do some final tune-ups race-wise,” McCabe added.

It was a big day for the 16-year-old Thomas, who trains at the National Swim Centre – Vancouver. She swam the women’s 100-m butterfly in a meet record 58.02 in the morning heats. She followed up by winning the final with a 58.11.

“She’s really good for Canadian swimming and the UBC program is really helping her rise to the top as a young swimmer. It will be reallygood to see what she can do in the future for sure,” McCabe said of Thomas, who set one of four new Canada Cup records on the day.

Kelly Aspinall (UBCD/NSC – Van) established a new meet mark in the men’s 50-m butterfly with a time of 23.46. Aspinall took home three gold medals on the day, also winning the 100-m backstroke and the 100-m freestyle. His backstroke time of 52.60 was just six one-hundredths off American Olympic star Ryan Lochte’s 2006 meet record.

Aspinall’s triple gold matched the performance of Jamaican guest star Alia Atkinson.

Atkinson, representing South Florida Aquatic Club, posted a 1:04.69 in the women’s 100-m breaststroke, the third-fastest time in the world this year. That set a Canada Cup record and national mark for Jamaica. Atkinson later won the 200-m individual medley with a time of 2:11.71 and the 50-m freestyle with a 25.35.

The other meet record went to Zack Chetrat of Toronto Swim Club/University of Toronto, who bested his own 2010 mark in the Canada Cup with a 1:55.60 in the men’s 200-m butterfly. Chetrat is also a member of the short-course team heading to Istanbul next month.

A total of 10 Canadian Olympians competed and won several events. Sinead Russell was in fine form, swimming a 27.86 to take the women’s 50-metre backstroke. Heather MacLean came out on top with a 1:57.31 in the women’s 200-m freestyle

The closest final of the evening saw Alexa Komarnycky (Island Swimming, Victoria) edge fellow Olympian Savannah King (UBCD/NSC – Van.) by just 0.02 seconds in the women’s 800-m freestyle with a time of 8:33.08.

For full results visit: http://www.eswim.ca/realtime/index.htm

Hosted by Etobicoke Swimming in conjunction with Swimming Canada, the Canada Cup features 337 registered swimmers from across Canada. A total of 69 clubs from nine provinces are represented, along with a handful of international competitors.

Action continues with 19 more events Saturday. Heats begin at 10 a.m. with finals and award ceremonies beginning each evening at 5:45 p.m.

Individual Stroke Awards

Swimming Canada also handed out its annual Individual Stroke Awards before the competition. These awards highlight the top performances by Canadian swimmers at the premier international meets of the year. All of this year’s winners represented Canada at the biggest premier international meet of all 2012 London Olympics.

Olympic medallists Brent Hayden (Sprint Freestyle Male Swimmer of the Year) and Ryan Cochrane (Distance Freestyle Male Swimmer of the Year) were honoured for their performances in London. Fellow Olympian JuliaWilkinson captured two awards: Sprint Freestyle Female Swimmer of the Year and Individual Medley Female Swimmer of the Year. A complete list of award winners can be found below:

Sprint Freestyle Female Swimmer of the Year
Julia Wilkinson

Sprint Freestyle Male Swimmer of the Year
Brent Hayden

Distance Freestyle Female Swimmer of the Year
Brittany MacLean

Distance Freestyle Male Swimmer of the Year
Ryan Cochrane

Backstroke Female Swimmer of the Year
Sinead Russell

Backstroke Male Swimmer of the Year
Charles Francis

Breaststroke Female Swimmer of the Year
Martha McCabe

Breaststroke Male Swimmer of the Year
Scott Dickens

Butterfly Female Swimmer of the Year
Audrey Lacroix

Butterfly Male Swimmer of the Year
Joe Bartoch

Individual Medley Female Swimmer of the Year
Julia Wilkinson

Individual Medley Male Swimmer of the Year
Andrew Ford