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MONTREAL, Canada, March 29. HALFWAY through the 2012 Canadian Olympic Trials, the burgeoning strength and depth within Swimming Canada has been on display in Montreal.
Women's 200 free
Canada earned a pair of individual Olympic spots in the event, while the battle for second-place came down to a nailbiting finish. Barbara Jardin won the Trial title in 1:57.34, clearing the FINA A cut (1:58.33) by a second. Jardin moved to 10th in the world with her swim.
Samantha Cheverton pipped Brittany MacLean, 1:57.98 to 1:58.09, to earn the second individual spot on the squad. MacLean had been looking for a second Olympic swim after setting the Canadian national record in the women's 400 free on day one (http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/World/30134.asp). Cheverton, a former Ohio State Buckeye, made the team after missing out during the 2008 Canadian Olympic Trials.
Amanda Reason (1:58.72), Heather MacLean (1:59.81), Lindsay Delmar (2:00.10), Sinead Russell (2:00.69) and Alyson Ackman (2:01.00) demonstrated the depth of the event for Canada as all swimmers bettered the FINA B cut of 2:02.47.
Men's 400 free
Ryan Cochrane, the national record holder in the event with a 3:44.85, eased himself onto the Olympic team with an open-water victory in 3:47.07. He moved to ninth in the world with his swim, but has much more in the tank heading into the London Games. Cochrane won the Olympic bronze medal in the men's 1500 free in Beijing, and will be looking for more this summer.
No one else came close to the FINA A cut of 3:48.92, leaving Cochrane as the sole representative for Canada in the event.
Chad Bobrosky (3:52.65), Alec Page (3:53.20), Keegan Zanatta (3:54.66), Frank Despond (3:54.71), Kier Maitland (3:56.71) and Williams Brothers (3:56.97) also competed in the finale.
Women's 100 breast
The top four swimmers bettered the FINA A cut of 1:08.49 in one of Canada's deepest events, but only two punched their tickets to the Olympics. Jillian Tyler, an NCAA Division I champion previously swimming for Minnesota, raced to the top of the podium in 1:07.18. That swim clipped her previous personal best of 1:07.28 from the 2011 World Championships, and jumped her to fourth in the world rankings in the event.
Tera Van Beilen earned the second Olympic berth for Canada with a strong 1:07.37 to move to sixth in the world. Her previous best this year had been a 1:08.15 from her prelim qualifying swim.
Martha McCabe (1:08.12) and Ashley McGregor (1:08.39) both cleared the automatic cut, but missed out on the Olympic squad as only two per country can be selected. Tianna Rissling finished fifth in 1:09.03, while Canadian record holder Annamay Pierse (1:09.21) placed a surprising sixth to miss a chance to make the team in the event. Chelsey Salli (1:09.22) and Haylee Johnson (1:09.61) rounded out the championship heat.
Men's 200 breast
Scott Dickens captured his second spot in the Olympics, after earning a big in the 10 breast earlier in the meet. Dickens raced to a 2:12.69 to be the top finisher under the provisional qualifying mark of 2:16.35. He missed the FINA A cut of 2:11.74, but managed to improve to 19th in the world rankings.
Jason Block (2:14.16), Richard Funk (2:14.59), Mike Brown (2:14.95) and Andrew Poznikoff (2:16.20) also managed to better the FINA B cut of 2:16.35, but missed out on the qualifying spot. Warren Barnes (2:16.66), Paul Kornfeld (2:17.48) and Jeffrey Nicol (2:19.50) finished sixth through eighth.
Aurelie Rivard clocked a 4:42.16 to lead the women's 400 free S10 division, while Amber Thomas paced the S11 division with a 5:19.34. Morgan Bird posted a 5:26.17 in the S8 division, while Brianna Nelson turned in a 5:43.36 in the S7 division. Benoit Huot blazed the men's 400 free S10 division with a 4:08.93, while Devin Gotell stopped the clock in 4:26.45 in the S13 division. Zack McAllister posted a 4:50.99 in the S9 division.
Michael Qing turned in a 2:07.52 in the men's 200 free S14 division, while Kirstie Kasko clocked a 2:25.35 in the women's 200 free S14 division. Valerie Drapeau posted a 4:41.90 in the S5 division.