LEEDS, England – Canadian swimmers broke eight national short course records and won eight gold medals in 10 races on Saturday at the British Grand Prix swimming competition.
The records were set by Ryan Cochrane and Stefan Hirniak, both of Victoria, Paul Kornfeld of Calgary, Annamay Pierse of Vancouver, Jake Tapp of Langley, B.C., Audrey Lacroix of Montreal and both the men’s and women’s 4X100 freestyle relays.
Canadians swept the medals in the women’s 100 breaststroke with Pierse lowering her national mark to 1:04.28, about a half second off the world mark. Her previous best was 1:04.67 set this past March at Spring Nationals. On Friday, Pierse broke her world short course record in the 200 breaststroke.
“The 100 breaststroke world record is hard one,” said Pierse, coming off a silver medal and long course world record performance in the 200 breaststroke at the world championships in Rome. “I’m still working on the power and the strength to go that fast. But I’m getting there. My second 50 was really fast today and that’s what made the difference.”
Kayla Voytechek of Lethbridge, Alta., was second in 1:06.11 and Martha McCabe of Vancouver third in 1:06.69.
There was also a medal sweep in the 1,500 freestyle. Cochrane, a double medallist at the recently completed world championships, won in 14:28.63 bettering his previous national mark of 14:35.73 set in 2008. Kier Maitland of Edmonton was second in 14:50.06 and Michael Zoldos of Newmarket, Ont., third in 14:53.45.
Kornfeld lowered his second Canadian record in two days clocking 26.69 in the 50 breaststroke. Scott Dickens of Vancouver held the previous mark of 27.04 set in March. Mathieu Bois of Montreal was third in 26.98.
Tapp wrestled away the men’s 100 backstroke mark from Calgary’s Pascal Wollach winning the final in 50.68. Wollach, who lowered the mark to 52.02 in the preliminaries, was third in 50.84. Riley Janes had held the record before today since 2000 at 52.18.
“Pascal and I have been rivals since were 13-14 years-old,” said Tapp. “This year overall he’s had the edge on me. Tonight I knew it was going to be close and I had a great final. I could see how close it was on each turn and that I needed to put myself out there on that last length.”
Another old record bit the dust in the men’s 200 butterfly with Hirniak bettering the mark to 1:53.43 for the silver medal. Shamek Pietucha of Calgary held the previous record of 1:54.27, since 2000.
“It’s a privilege for me to break this record,” said Hirniak. “Shamek is a graduate of the same university as I and I know what an amazing butterfly swimmer he was. I’ve been working hard in this event and the past couple of months I’ve really honed my technique and it’s really come together.””
Lacroix broke the national record twice in the women’s 100 butterfly. In the prelims she clocked 57.64 and in the final 56.74. Kendra Chernoff of Saskatoon, the record holder entering Saturday’s races, was second in 57.56.
In the men’s 4X100 freestyle relay, Brent Hayden of Vancouver, Joel Greenshields of Airdrie, Alta., Blake Worsley of Victoria and Hassaan Abdel-Khalik of Mississauga, Ont., clocked 3:07.89 for gold and broke the previous Canadian record of 3:10.99 set in March.
A second Canadian relay was third with Hirniak, Richard Hortness of Medicine Hat, Alta., Adam Szoo of Quebec City and Tapp.
In the women’s 4X100 relay, Victoria Poon and Genevieve Saumur, both of Montreal, Jennifer Beckberger of Ajax, Ont., and Heather MacLean of Etobicoke, Ont., took the gold in a Canadian record 3:32.53. The preivous mark was 3:37. 78 set in March.
A second Canadian relay took silver with Julia Wilkinson of North York, Ont., Erica Morningstar of Calgary, Marie-Pier Ratelle of Quebec City and Alexandra Gabor of Whitehorse.
Hanna Kubas of Calgary and Sinead Russell of Oakville, Ont., won gold and bronze in the women’s 50 backstroke while MacLean took silver in the 400 freestyle.
Canada is fielding a 70-member squad comprised of its World Championships and Senior B teams.
Competition ends Sunday.
Full results are available at: http://www.swimmingresults.org/liveevent/index.htm