VICTORIA – Swimming Canada’s World Championships Trials got underway in Victoria Wednesday with 14 swimmers punching their tickets for this summer’s FINA World Championships.
The competition is the qualifying event for Canada’s swim team for the FINA World Championships July 19 to August 4 in Barcelona. On Wednesday, Canada assured itself world championship spots in both the men’s and women’s 4×200-m freestyle relays.
Barbara Jardin of Montreal swam nearly three seconds faster than her time in the preliminaries to win the gold in the women’s 200-m freestyle in 1:58.25 and meet the individual standard for Barcelona. The combined times of Jardin, Samantha Cheverton of Pointe-Claire, Que., Brittany MacLean of Etobicoke, Ont., and Savannah King of Vancouver beat the qualifying time for the 4×200 freestyle relay.
It was a similar story in the men’s 200-m freestyle. Blake Worsley of Victoria took the race and the national team spot in 1:48.80. Worsley, Alec Page of Victoria and brothers Aly and Hassaan Abdel-Khalik of Etobicoke, Ont., all qualified for the 4×200-m relay.
“I’m really excited,” said Worsley. “A couple of months ago I wasn’t sure I would be swimming but now here I am.”
The women’s 100-m backstroke and 200-m butterfly each saw two Canadians meet world championship standards.
Sinead Russell of Burlington, Ont., took the women’s 100-m backstroke in 1:00.12 and her clubmate Kristina Steins followed in 1:00.85 to join her in Barcelona.
“I’m so happy I could cry right now. I’m so jittery and so happy,” Steins said. “My mindset was just trying to get the 1 and 2 for my team. And I know it sounds weird but I wanted to go tanning this summer in Barcelona.”
In the 200-m butterfly, veteran Audrey Lacroix swam her fastest time since 2011, winning in 2:07.89 while Katerine Savard clocked a personal best 2:08.34. Both swimmers are from Pont-Rouge, Que.
Noemie Thomas of Vancouver came seventh in the 200-m after lowering the national record in the 50-m. The 17-year-old Thomas, who missed the mark by 0.01 seconds in the morning prelims, wiped it clean from the books in the final, clocking 26.35 to earn a national team spot. That eclipsed the previous record of 26.49 set by Savard in 2011.
The 50-m butterfly is not a qualifying event for worlds, so Thomas is still looking ahead to Friday’s 100-m event.
“The main goal is just to make the team and be able to keep on working towards worlds,” said Thomas, who added her first national long-course record to a pair of short-course marks she set in December at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Istanbul. “Ever since November I’ve been on this pretty good wave of doing some good training, being able to race at a high level and perform at my best. December at world short course championships was a really good stepping stone for me and hopefully I can just keep building on that wave.”
Also qualifying for world championships on the men’s side were Zack Chetrat of Toronto in the 200-m butterfly and Charles Francis of Cowansville, Que., in the 200-m backstroke.
Also held Wednesday were the men’s 800- and women’s 1,500-m freestyle events. Similar to the 50-m events (except freestyle), these are events at the worlds but not qualifying events at these trials.
In the men’s 800-m freestyle, two-time Olympic medallist Ryan Cochrane of Victoria posted an impressive time of 7:43.61 seconds for the victory. It was the fastest time in the world so far in 2013.
“I tried to take it out as fast as possible,” said Cochrane. “It’s super encouraging to get that time this early in the season. It’s going to be a good summer.”
Tabitha Baumann of Ottawa, the daughter of Canadian swimming legend Alex Baumann, won the women’s 1,500-m freestyle.
Competition resumes Thursday with preliminaries at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, and finals and 6 p.m. at Saanich Commonwealth Place.
Fans wishing to follow online can watch all sessions via live webcast at http://www.sportsnet.ca/swimming-world-championship-trials/?? Live results will be posted athttps://swimming.ca/liveresults/2013worldtrials/
Team selection so far:
Barbara Jardin, Montreal, 200 FR, 1:58.25
Sinead Russell, Burlington, Ont., 100 BK 1:00.12
Kristina Steins, Burlington, Ont., 100 BK, 1:00.85
Audrey Lacroix, Pont-Rouge, Que., 200 FL, 2:07.89
Savard Katerine, Pont-Rouge, Que., 200 FL, 2:08.34
Samantha Cheverton, Pointe-Claire, Que., 200 FR, 1:58.80
Brittany MacLean, Etobicoke, Ont., 200 FR, 1:59.53
Savannah King, Vancouver, 200 FR, 2:00.34
Blake Worsley, Victoria, 200 FR, 1:48.80
Charles Francis, Montreal, 100 BK, 55.34
Zack Chetrat, Toronto, 200 FL, 1:58.01
Alec Page, Victoria, 200 FR, 1:49.36
Aly Abdel-Khalik, Etobicoke, Ont., 200 FR, 1:49.59
Hassaan Abdel-Khalik, Etobicoke, Ont., 200 FR, 1:49.84