FORT MYERS, Florida, October 21. SHORTLY after the United States completed its qualifying swims, the Canadians took to the water in Fort Myers, Fla. The same qualifying standards applied for the Canadians as the top two swimmers from each race earned spots at the FINA Open Water World Championships to take place in Seville, Spain next April.
In the men's race, Phillipe Debreuif of Sherbrooke won in 1:56:28, while Jarrod Ballem of the University of Calgary will join him in Seville after a second-place 1:59:36. Simon Tobin of the University of Laval finished third for the first alternate spot in a time of 2:04:51, while David Creel of the University of Victory did not finish and withdrew from the race.
The four men stayed together through the first lap at the 2.5K mark. Midway through the second lap, Debreuif pulled away with Ballem pursuing. At that point, Debreuif claimed a 20-meter lead with Ballem leading Creel by 10-meters. Tobin stood well behind, 10-meters back of Creel. This pecking order remained the same through most of the race, with only the spacing getting bigger and bigger. However, Creel started fading at the 6.25K mark, then withdrew from the race at 7K due to a possible elbow issue.
For the women, Zsofia Balasz of the Toronto Swim Club (2:08:29) won the race, while Karley Stutzel of the University of Victoria (2:08:31) claimed the final transfer spot onto the 10K Worlds roster.
Tanya Hunks of the UBC Dolphins placed third in 2:08:45, while Patricia Perrault of Beauport (2:08:48) and Tara Ivanitz of the UBC Dolphins (2:09:60 took fourth and fifth, respectively. Caithlind Nola of the University of Laval placed sixth in 2:11:17.
The women's group of six remained a pack throughout most of the race. However, at the halfway point, Balasz and Hunks made a move to the front of the pack. Hunks then pushed forward at the 6.25K mark with Balasz and Stutzel pursuing until all three were in a line at the 7.5K mark. Nearing the 8.25K mark, Nola had fallen off the pack, while Ivanitz fell back as well.
Hunks continued to lead with about 800 meters to go, but started fading after the final turn. Balasz and Stutzel then put on the steam to overtake Hunks for the two roster spots.