VICTORIA – Tera Van Beilen and Sinead Russell were the fastest of the fast on the first night of finals at Canadian Swimming Trials in Victoria.
Van Beilen was one of four women in the women’s 200-m breaststroke to swim under the qualifying standard of 2:28.12. The 2012 Olympian, who swims at the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Vancouver, led from the beginning and held on in a tight finish in 2:26.66.
Kierra Smith of Liquid Lightning Swim Club (West Kelowna, B.C.) was second at 2:26.74, and Martha McCabe (HPC – Ontario) overcame her clavicle injury to finish third at 2:27.03.
“I finally got the better side of the touch which doesn’t happen too often for me,” said Van Beilen, swimming out of lane two. “I knew from this morning’s preliminaries that it would be close. I tried to gauge the race situation as best I could.”
Ashley McGregor of Pointe-Claire (Que.) Swim Club was fourth at 2:27.11.
The four-day trials serve as the selection meet for this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, and Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Gold Coast, Australia. Up to three swimmers can qualify in each event.
Sinead Russell, swimming for Norfolk Hammerheads Aquatic Club (Simcoe, Ont.), highlighted fast times for the women’s 100-m backstroke.
The top three racers in the women’s 100-m backstroke final went under the 1:01.25 standard. Russell clocked one minute flat for the victory fending off a strong challenge from Brooklynn Snodgrass of Calgary second in 1:00.23. World championship 200-m medallist Hilary Caldwell of White Rock, B.C., was third in 1:00.99.
“I’ll take that for now,” said Russell, the Canadian record holder. “It was a pretty good race. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do later this season.”
In the women’s 200-m freestyle, Brittany MacLean of Etobicoke, Ont., took the national title clocking a personal best 1:57.57 with Samantha Cheverton of Pointe-Claire, Que., second in 1:59.28 and Alyson Ackman of Pointe-Claire third at 1:59.60. MacLean’s time was under the individual qualifying standard
“I’m excited with my swimming,” said MacLean. “I wanted to get this meet off to a really good start and keep building from there.”
Emily Overholt (West Vancouver Otters) and Barbara Jardin (PPO Montreal) tied for fourth at 1:59.88, and the top four times combined met the standard for the 4×200 relay. Overholt would hold the selection tiebreaker due to a faster heat time.
Two-time Olympic medallist Ryan Cochrane of Victoria completed an impressive comeback for the gold in the men’s 200-m freestyle.
Cochrane was in seventh place at the halfway point before emerging with the two fastest final splits to win the race in one minute and 49.04 seconds. Alec Page of Victoria took the silver in 1:49.33 and Coleman Allen of Vancouver was third in 1:49.40.
“This is why we train every day,” said Cochrane, whose main focus is the 400-m freestyle and 1500-m freestyle later this week. “It was great to be in such an exciting race. I’m glad I had some good back end speed.”
Other winners in men’s competition were Russell Wood of Calgary who beat the qualifying standard in the 100-m backstroke by 0.01 seconds and Richard Funk of Edmonton in the 200-m breaststroke.
In non-qualifying events, Kier Maitland of Edmonton took the men’s 800-m freestyle, Sophia Saroukian of Edmonton the women’s 1500-m freestyle and Kelly Aspinall of Vancouver and Sandrine Mainville of Montreal the men’s and women’s 50-m butterfly.
The teams for the Commonwealth and Pan Pacific Championships will be officially announced Saturday night after the final races.
Competition continues through to Saturday. Morning heats begin at 10 a.m. each day, with evening finals sessions at 6 p.m.
Live results are available at https://www.swimming.ca/liveresults/2014snctrials/
Live webcast is available at: http://www.sportsnet.ca/more/2014-canadian-swimming-trials/