Trials underway, live Sportsnet webcast begins tonight

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VICTORIA – Canadian Swimming Trials are underway and fans can follow every second of finals action via live webcast on Sportsnet.ca

The webcast begins at 5:45 p.m PT (8:45 p.m ET) each night of the four-day meet at http://www.sportsnet.ca/more/2014-canadian-swimming-trials/

Former national team star Joanne Malar will be the host and commentator, with house announcer Chris Hindmarch-Watson providing the play-by-play.

Trials serve as the selection meet for this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, and Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Gold Coast, Australia. Tonight’s action will feature men’s and women’s 50-m butterfly, 200-m freestyle, 100-m backstroke and 200-m breaststroke, as well as men’s 800-m and women’s 1,500-m freestyle.

Brittany MacLean of Etobicoke, Ont., will enter the women’s 200-m freestyle final with the only sub-two-minute heat time after turning in a 1:59.14 in the morning. On the men’s side, Ryan Cochrane of the National High Performance Centre – Victoria was fastest at 1:49.65, followed by Coleman Allen of the HPC – Vancouver at 1:49.76.

The women’s 100-m backstroke will be an event to watch Wednesday evening. Sinead Russell of Norfolk Hammerheads Aquatic Club (Simcoe, Ont.) qualified in top spot at 1:00.81, followed by Calgary’s Brooklynn Snodgrass, fresh off an NCAA championship in the 200 yards, at 1:01.02. Close behind at 1:01.77 was Victoria’s Hilary Caldwell, the reigning world championships bronze medallist in the 200-m. Russell Wood of Calgary’s Cascade Swim Club was tops on the men’s side at 55.13.

Kierra Smith of Liquid Lightning Swim Club (West Kelowna, B.C.) will be top seed in the women’s 200-m breaststroke with a heat time of 2:26.59, ahead of national team veterans Martha McCabe (HPC – Ontario) and Tera Van Beilen (HPC – Vancouver), who also advanced to finals. Edmonton’s Richard Funk, who won NCAA bronze in the 100-yard last weekend in Austin, Tex., paced the men with a 2:14.17 in the heats.

The meet runs through Saturday at Saanich Commonwealth Place in Victoria, the same venue that hosted Commonwealth Games swimming 20 years ago. In total more than 500 swimmers from more 100 clubs are exected to compete, including swimmers from nine Canadian provinces and visiting athletes from Lithuania, Ireland, Israel, Slovenia and Hungary.

Morning heats begin at 10 a.m. each day, with evening finals sessions at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at a price of $5 for heats, $10 for finals, or $40 for a four-day pass to all sessions. Live results are available at https://www.swimming.ca/liveresults/2014snctrials/

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