VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 3. THE final night of the Mel Zajac Jr. International Meet, like the first two days, featured some quality performances. Once again, Canada's Brent Hayden was a highlight performer. One night after he set a meet record in the 50 freestyle, Hayden took top honors in the 100 freestyle with a mark of 49.94.
But, Hayden had to share the spotlight with Ryan Cochrane, who set a Canadian record in the 1500 freestyle by negotiating the metric mile in 15:08.25. The previous national record was set at 15:09.44 last year. Cochrane has firmly etched himself as the premier distance freestyle in Canada and a growing force internationally.
In March at the FINA World Championships in Melbourne, Hayden shared gold in the 100 freestyle with Italy's Filippo Magnini. The leading Canadian contender for a medal at the Beijing Olympics, Hayden was significantly quicker than the 51.42 of Rick Say. In the women's 100 free, Erica Morningstar, who registered a number of top times at Worlds, turned in a strong showing of 55.66 to claim an easy victory.
The Olympic gold medalist in the 100 breaststroke at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Megan Jendrick took top honors in the 50 breast, stopping the clock in 31.88. That effort produced a comfortable win over Annamay Pierse (32.53). Meanwhile, Jendrick's King Aquatics teammate, Ariana Kukors, placed second in the 200 butterfly. Kukors went 2:15.19, slightly behind the 2:14.73 of MacKenzie Dowling.
American Kelsey Ditto of Longhorn Aquatics established a meet record in the 800 freestyle when she touched the wall in 8:36.19, just under the 1991 standard of Donna Proctor (8:36.82). Other winners included Matthew Huang in the men's 50 breaststroke (29.10) and Stefan Hirniak in the 200 fly (2:03.29). Hirniak placed ahead of Adam Sioui, who was timed in 2:03.35. Elizabeth Wycliffe turned in the quickest 100 back time among the women, going 1:03.64. For the men, Matt Hawes won a tightly-contested backstroke. Setting a meet record, he posted a time of 55.68, just ahead of the 55.80 of Nick Thoman and the 55.87 of David Cromwell.