swim canada-2

November 25, 2012, TORONTO (ISN) – Kelly Aspinall and his UBC Dolphins were the big winners as the Canada Cup wrapped up Saturday at the Etobicoke Olympium.

Aspinall was the overall Canada Cup winner on the men’s side with 25 aggregate points, while the UBC Dolphins took the team Canada Cup with a combined score of 1,199.

Aspinall won the 50-metre backstroke and 50-m freestyle Saturday with times of 24.41 and 22.21, giving him five gold medals for the weekend.

“That was kind of the goal coming in here. Everyone’s all over the map so it’s hard to judge where people are going to be. So I just came in and raced hard and luckily got my hand on the wall in a few events,” Aspinall said.

“I’ve been working really hard with my coach Steve Price. He just kind of broke me back down to the basics last year and we’ve just been building since then. It’s starting to click now so hopefully we just keep going the way it’s been going.”

On the women’s side, Jamaican Alia Atkinson picked up where she left off, setting her second Canada Cup record in as many days and taking the women’s Canada Cup with 27 aggregate points. The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer’s time of 30.47 in the 50-metre breaststroke set a new meet mark in the morning. She broke it with a 29.87 in the finals, ahead of the 31.34 of Canadian Olympian Martha McCabe (UBC Dolphins/National Swim Centre – Vancouver). Atkinson also won the 100-m individual medley (59.96), her fifth gold of the two-day competition.

Second in aggregate points for the women was 16-year-old Noemie Thomas, who tied with UBC/NSC – Vancouver teammate Heather MacLean.

Thomas (25.99) beat out Atkinson (26.85) in the 50-m butterfly to stop the Jamaican from winning her sixth gold medal. Thomas, who grabbed a relay (200-m medley) and individual (100-m fly) gold on Friday, was also part of the UBC Dolphins team that won the 200-m freestyle relay Saturday. Lauren Lavigna and Olympians Heather MacLean and Savannah King combined with Thomas for a time of 1:44.21.

“It was really good for the team. This is my first year swimming with the National (Swim) Centre – Vancouver so it’s just good to get to know everybody a bit more,” Thomas said. “I feel really comfortable with this new team I have and Tom (Johnson) is doing a really good job with me. Switching coaches is hard but it’s doing pretty well.”

Meanwhile, Zack Chetrat of the Toronto Swim Club won the FINA High Point Award (840) for his 200-m butterfly from Friday. He set a Canada Cup and Ontario record with the time of 1:55.60, giving him confidence heading into the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Istanbul from Dec. 12-16.

“I’m really excited about my results this weekend coming off … missing the Olympic team by just so little. I’m really excited to have swam so well early in the season,” Chetrat said.

“Leading into short-course worlds I feel like this is a really good milestone for me, a good checkpoint sort ofthing leading into that meet which I’ve been focused on for the last few months now.”

Atkinson took the women’s FINA High Point Award (910) for Friday’s 100-m breaststroke time of 1:04.69, a meet record and third-fastest in the world this year.

McCabe posted a strong time of 2:23.20 to win the 200-m breaststroke, beating out fellow Olympian Tera van Beilen (Oakville AquaticClub/NSC – Vancouver) to take the gold with a time of 2:23.20.

Many of Canada’s top swimmers will remain in the Greater Toronto Area for Monday’s Big Splash Awards Gala. The Big Splash is Swimming Canada’s annual awards gala to celebrate the best in Canadian Swimming. Awards include Omega Male and Female Swimmers of the Year, TAS Para-swimming Swimmers of the Year and Open Water Swimmer of the Year.

For further information: www.thebigsplash.ca