Mike Brown of Perth, Ont., Adam Sioui of Trenton, Ont., and Julia Wilkinson of Toronto broke Canadian records and three more swimmers added their names to the Olympic nomination list on Thursday at the CN Swimming Trials.
Canada’s nomination list is now at 20, the same number as four years ago in Athens with Jake Tapp of Langley, B.C.
Brown broke his Canadian record in the men’s 200 breaststroke clocking 2:11.01 to better the 2:11.22 he swam in a silver medal performance at the 2005 world championships, also held in Montreal. Mathieu Bois of Montreal bettered his personal best by more than two seconds for the silver medal in 2:12.75. Both also qualified in the 100 breaststroke earlier this week.
“It’s been a long three years,” said Brown, about breaking the national mark. “I’ve been racking my brain why I haven’t been able to break that thing the last few years. I just went out for it tonight. This boosts my confidence and I’m excited and happy about it.”
Bois, 19, is also bubbling with confidence after shining in his home pool.
“I got my two events, that’s what I wanted,” said Bois, who beat Brown in Tuesday’s 100 breaststroke. “It’s the hard training that helped me more than anything else.”
In the men’s 200 butterfly, Sioui continued his steady progression up the national ladder winning in 1:57.89 to eclipse the previous Canadian mark of 1:58.08 set by Shamek Pietucha of Calgary in the same pool at the 2000 Olympic trials. Sioui earned his first spot for the 4X200 freestyle relay on Wednesday.
“I just wanted to swim my own race and I felt good all the way through,” said Sioui, 25, competing at his third trials and headed to first Olympics. “When I saw the time, I couldn’t be happier. The 200 fly is my best and favourite event and I’ve been gunning for that record for eight years now. But placement was my main concern tonight. Canada has so much depth now that I wanted to make sure I put my hand on the wall first.”
Wilkinson lowered her second Canadian record in two days winning the women’s 200-metre freestyle in one minute and 58.73 seconds. That eclipsed the previous national mark of 1:59.38 set by Sophie Simard of Quebec City in 2005.
“I’m on a roll right now,” said Wilkinson who qualified for the Olympics in the 100 backstroke in Canadian record time on Wednesday. “My coach had a lot of faith in me and he just told me to swim my own race. In the prelims I was really tired and didn’t have my confidence but I had it tonight.”
Both Wilkinson and Geneviève Saumur of Montreal, second in 1:59.22 went under the qualifying standard. Stephanie Horner of Beaconsfield, Que., and Erica Morningstar of Calgary were third and fourth and also lock up a spot for the 4X200 freestyle. It’s a first nomination for Saumur and Morningstar. Horner also qualified Tuesday in the 400 freestyle.
“My goal tonight was just to make the team,” said Saumur. “I had to go out really fast and come back as strong as I could and I did. I knew I’d be solid in the last 50 and it was really good. I just tried told on until the last stroke. She beat me by a little but next time we’ll see. Both of us together on the relay is going to be something excellent.”
Jake Tapp of Langley, B.C., won a swim off in the men’s 100 backstroke over Rob Taylor of Brampton, Ont., to gain a ticket to his first Olympics. Tapp clocked 55.16 and Taylor 55.44. The pair has tied for first in Wednesday’s final.
“I was nervous about it all day, I couldn’t have a nap,” said Tapp, who marched to the starting blocks wearing a blue parka complete with the hood. “I don’t even remember swimming the race anymore. It’s a complete blur. But I didn’t want to wait another four years. I put in my best effort. I knew I could take off more time.”
Huot happy with performance in Paralympic trials
In the Paralympic selection competition for swimmers with a disability, Benoit Huot was delighted with his performance in the men’s 200-metre individual medley. He clocked 2:18.97 to win the event.
“It’s my best performance this week,” said Huot, who won five gold medals at the 2004 Paralympic Games. “It’s one of two events in which I’m still ranked number-one in the world and it looks promising for the next big competitions for me.”
Drew Christensen of New Westminster, B.C., ranked second in the race clocking 2:35.57 which bettered his Canadian record in the S8 Class. Devin Gotell of Antigonish, N.S., was third.
In the women’s 200 IM, Valérie Grand’Maison of Montreal prevailed in 2:29.85 with Chelsea Gotell of Antigonish second in 2:31:32 and Kirby Cote of Winnipeg third in 2:32.83. All three swim in the S13 class for the visually impaired with Cote holding the Canadian mark at 2:29.16 set in 1998.
Competition continues Friday at the Olympic Park Pool.