VICTORIA, British Columbia, April 4. KATERINE Savard’s national record in the 100 butterfly sparked the third day of competition at the Canadian nationals, which is serving as the selection meet for the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific championships.
Women 400 free
Brittany MacLean took a different approach to the 400-meter freestyle at the Canadian long course nationals than she did in the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA championships, attacking the race from the start and building her lead to a strong finish.
After closing hard on Missy Franklin to win at NCAAs, MacLean went out hard tonight in the 400, posting a 2:01.54 to put her on pace to approach her national record of 4:05.06. MacLean fell off that pace but posted a strong 4:06.20 to put herself fifth in the world rankings.
Tabitha Baumann took second with a 4:10.68 to beat the qualifying time of 4:12.47 for the international racing roster. Savannah King took third with a 4:12.59 to just miss out on getting a third Canadian automatically added to the roster, but the time could be considered based on other criteria.
Men 400 free
Ryan Cochrane’s victory in the final of the 400 free was never in doubt tonight, but would someone join him as a possible companion on the international roster?
Cochrane put up a strong in-season swim to post a 3:47.30 to put him fourth in the world behind two Australians (David McKeon and Mack Horton) and Korean Tae-Hwan Park. Jeremy Bagshaw made a run to get automatic qualifying for the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Games, but fell short of the 3:50.87 standard with a 3:51.09 that tied his personal best.
Peter Brothers took third with a 3:54.57. Notably, the strength of Randy Bennett’s distance freestyle program was on display, with the top five finishers in the final representing Island Swimming.
Women 100 fly
Katerine Savard put her international rivals in the 100 butterfly on notice, breaking her national record at the Canadian long course nationals.
Savard posted a 57.27 to beat her standard of 57.31 from last year’s world championships prelims. Savard placed fifth in the finals in Barcelona with a 57.97. Savard was one hundredth slower than her record pace at the 50-meter mark with a 26.68 but roared home in 30.59 to post the new national standard. Savard now ranks second in the world behind Sarah Sjostrom’s 56.53.
Audrey Lacroix was second in the historic race with a 58.69, while Noemie Thomas rounded out the sub-1:00 swims with a 59.20 for third place. Lacroix is automatically added to the international racing roster, while Thomas falls two hundredths short.
Men 100 fly
Coleman Allen led from start to finish in the final of the 100 butterfly, but had two competitors closing strong in the final meters.
Allen posted a time of 53.27, less than two tenths off the time needed to get himself automatically selected to the roster for the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific championships. His time, however, could be good enough to get considered based on additional criteria.
Gamal Assaad was second with a 53.42, while Evan White was also in the title hunt, placing third with a 53.51.
Women 200 back
Hilary Caldwell had no pressure in the final of the 200 backstroke, with her bronze medal from last year’s world championships giving her automatic selection for the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific games rosters.
The only requirement for Caldwell tonight was to place in the top three, and she did barely did that, beating out Dominique Bouchard for the chance to race the world’s best this summer.
Sinead Russell looked like she was on pace to sweep the backstrokes, but Genevieve Cantin had other plans. Cantin has been a longtime contender in Canadian racing, and got a lifetime best with a 2:09.40. Russell was second with a 2:09.58 while Caldwell was third with a 2:10.11 to Bouchard’s 2:10.18.
The top three swimmers will all race in the 200 back at the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific championships. The top four swimmers all rank in the top 10 in the world, with Cantin sitting fifth so far in 2014.
Men 200 back
Russell Wood did what eluded Sinead Russell in the women’s backstrokes by completing a sweep of the three distances at the Canadian nationals.
Matthew Swanston, a former standout at Stanford University, had the early lead, but Wood put on the afterburners in the final 25 meters to win with a 1:59.50. It’s his first time under two minutes, with a previous best of 2:00.51 to his credit before the meet. It’s a little bit slower than the qualifying standard of 1:59.19 needed to get automatically on the international racing roster, but Wood’s dominance in the backstrokes will be considered for inclusion to the squad.
Swanston fell back to second with a 2:00.90, while Matthew Myers took third with a 2:01.95.
Women 50 breast
With no international roster selection on the line in the final of the 50 breaststroke, the national title was most motivating, and it was Tera Van Beilen who took the title with a 31.52.
Van Beilen claimed all three breaststroke events this week, and took the win tonight from lane two over Rebecca Terejko, who posted a 31.75. Bronwyn Pasloski was third with a 31.82.
Men 50 breast
Richard Funk became the third swimmer to sweep the strokes, taking the 50 breast tonight to go along with his wins in the 100 and 200 distances earlier in the meet.
Funk’s 27.82 was the only sub-28 second swim with Andrew Poznikoff taking second with a 28.16. Matthew Ackman was third with a 28.34 in the non-international roster selection event.