MONTREAL, Quebec, February 17. SOPHIE Simard of Quebec City, who is tuning up for next month’s Commonwealth Games, won two gold medals in women’s open competition Thursday to kick off the 2006 Speedo Eastern Canadian Swimming Championships at the Claude-Robillard Centre. An Olympian, Simard opened the day with a victory in the women’s 50 butterfly, clocking 27.80 and finishing ahead of 16-year-old Stephanie Horner (28.09). Laura Murray was third at 28.45. The 27-year-old Simard also won the 800 freestyle.
"I’m a bit surprised, I don’t compete in those events very often," said Simard, scheduled to race the 100 and 200 freestyles at the Commonwealth Games. "But I’m here to race as much as possible. It’s a great opportunity in preparation for the Games. I was pleased with my endurance and my tactics in the 800 in particular."
Other winners in women’s open racing were Samantha Cheberton in the 50 backstroke (29.48) and Michelle Laprade in the 50 breaststroke (31.87). In men’s open competition, another Commonwealth Games team member, Thomas Kindler, struggled to reach the venue as a snowstorm hit the city but he still won the 50 butterfly in 24.41.
"It’s a decent time considering it took me two hours to get to the pool," said Kindler, 25, who set a provincial record in the event at World Cup in New York two weeks ago. "It threw me off a bit but we’re still in a preparation phase so I wasn’t going into this event fully prepared."
Other winners in men’s open racing were Daniel Langlois of Ajax, Ont., in the 50 backstroke (26.42) and Matthew Huang of Montreal in the 50 breaststroke (28.30).
50 backstroke: 1. Daniel Langlois, Ajax, Ont., 26.42; 2. Jonathan Blouin, Quebec City, 26.46; 3. Etienne Paquet, Beaconsfield, Que., 26.72.
50 breaststroke: 1. Matthew Huang, Montreal, 28.30; 2. Kevin Paradis-Rioux, Montreal, 28.45; 3. Michel Boulianne, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que., 29.23.
50 butterfly: 1. Thomas Kindler, Montreal, 24.41; 2. Dominique Bourdages, Rimouski, Que., 24.97; 3. Scott Farrow, Trenton, Ont., 25.22.
50 backstroke: 1. Samantha Cheverton, Pointe-Claire, Que., 29.48; 2. Amy Perreault, North Bay, Ont., 30.01; 3. Vanessa Langille, Fredericton, 30.04.
50 breaststroke: 1. Michelle Laprade, Montreal, 31.87; 2. Marie-Pier Ratelle, Quebec City, 33.38; 3. Marie-France Gauthier, Pointe-Claire, Que., 33.58.
50 butterfly: 1. Sophie Simard, Quebec City, 27.80; 2. Stephanie Horner, Beaconsfield, Que., 28.09; 3. Laura Murray, St. John’s, Nfld., 28.45.