Heather Maclean
Courtesy of: UBC Public Affairs
By guest writer Julia Wilkinson-Minks (2008 & 2012 Canadian Olympian)

POINT-CLAIRE, Quebec, July 17. WITH its National team already overseas making last minute preparations for Barcelona, and other top swimmers recovering from a long meet in Kazan, Canada's Summer Nationals will be a great opportunity for up-and-coming junior swimmers. Canada is using its Summer National Championships in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, as the selection meet for the World Junior Swimming Championships at the end of August in Dubai.

The meet will also include some of Canada's Olympians who did not qualify for the team en route to Barcelona. One in particular to watch is Jillian Tyler: a two-time (2008, 2012) Olympian, World Championship finalist and 2011 NCAA Champion for Minnesota. 2012 Olympians David Sharpe and Heather MacLean are also competing in Pointe-Claire this week.

MacLean took her first gold medal of the meet in the 200-meter freestyle, winning in 2:01.13. The former Canadian record holder in this event held off Jacqueline Keire, who finished in 2:01.89. MacLean was a member of Canada's 400 freestyle relay last summer in London: her sister Brittany was also a 2012 Olympian and will be swimming for Canada in Barcelona at the end of the month.

In the men's 200 freestyle, Stefan Milosevic passed two swimmers in the final 50 meters to win gold in 1:51.18.

With a brand new national record to shoot for compliments of Katerine Savard at the World University Games, Sherry Patel was first to the wall in the women's 50 butterfly in 27.15. She finished two tenths ahead of North York Aquatic Club's Michelle Williams, who earned second in 27.35. On the men's side, it was a photo finish, with Christopher Bezeau out-touching Rohan Jacobs for the gold. The swimmers finished in 24.85 and 24.86 respectively.

In the 100 backstroke, Australian Youth Olympic Festival gold medalist in the 200 IM, Sydney Pickrem, took gold in 1:03.19. She narrowly overtook Annie Harrison on the back half; Harrison finished in 1:03.22. The men's side featured a battle of the brothers: 2013 Stanford Senior Matthew Swantson took gold in 55.93, his younger brother Jeffrey bronze in 56.48. Matthew Myers of the Toronto Swim Club was second in 55.97.

In the second round of this evening's butterfly, Emily Overholt won the women's 200 fly in 2:13.76, thanks to some impressive speed in the first 100 meters. On the men's side, Evan White snatched the gold medal from 2012 Canadian Olympian David Sharpe in 2:00.96. The race was very close between these two the entire way, with an identical split at the 50-meter mark, and Sharpe leading by a single hundredth at the 150-meter turn. Sharpe finished second in 2:00.96.

Today's distance events were swum fastest heat in finals. In the men's 800-meter freestyle, Kier Maitland won by a whopping 14-second margin over second-place Alexander Hamilton in 8:03.62. The women's 1500 freestyle proved a slightly more exciting race for the fans. Alexandra Aitchison led for the first 400 meters, but then was passed by Samantha Harding, who continued to put water between herself and the field for the rest of the race. Harding won in 16:42.46, Aitchison's early efforts earned her a silver medal in 16:47.09.

The meet continues through Saturday.

Julia Wilkinson-Minks is a two-time Olympian for Canada and was a finalist in the 200-meter IM at the 2008 Beijing Games. In 2010, she became Texas A&M's first ever NCAA champion in swimming when she won the 100-yard freestyle. She graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Speech Communication. Julia retired from competitive swimming following the London Olympic Games and now lives in Texas with her husband Shane.

Follow her on twitter @juliah2o

Results: Canada Summer Nationals: Day One