Brittany MacLean Shines In Another Heavyweight Battle With Missy Franklin

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 24. SIMILAR to the NCAA Championships, tonight’s finals session at the Mel Zajac Canada Cup featured some head-to-head battles between American star Missy Franklin and Canada’s own Brittany MacLean. MacLean wound up getting the upper hand in both encounters.

California’s women’s backstroke continues to shine as one of the deepest stroke groups in the world. Missy Franklin, who already took home two individual and one relay title last night, captured the women’s 50-meter back tonight in 28.99. Franklin’s sprint specialist teammate Rachel Bootsma, the American record-holder in the event, took second in 29.20. California’s Elizabeth Pelton snatched third in the event with a 29.29. Brooklynn Snodgrass posted the top swim from a Canadian with a fourth-place 29.37.

In a repeat of the women’s 500-yard freestyle finale at NCAAs when Georgia’s Brittany MacLean took down the heavily favored Franklin, the two met again in the women’s 400-meter freestyle this evening with the same result. MacLean blasted the field with a 4:10.77 for the win, while Franklin took second in 4:14.33. Tabitha Baumann (4:15.62) and Danica Ludlow (4:15.70) snared third and fourth. MacLean’s been much faster this year with an 11th-ranked season best of 4:06.20 from the Canadian National Championships, but her time tonight was more than enough to secure the title.

In another NCAA rematch, MacLean held off Franklin in the women’s 800-meter free relay as both served as anchors tonight. Canada’s Sam Cheverton (2:01.01), Alyson Ackman (2:02.12), Emily Overholt (2:05.27) and MacLean (1:59.60) won in 8:08.00 going away in the finale. Meanwhile, Cal’s Elizabeth Pelton (2:02.52), Camille Cheng (2:05.35), Melanie Klaren (2:04.41) and Franklin (1:59.56) wound up taking second in the finale in 8:11.84. California’s B team of Caroline Piehl (2:06.39), Rachael Acker (2:05.31), Kelly Naze (2:06.70) and Kaylin Bing (2:05.61) finished third in 8:24.01.

UBCD’s Noemie Thomas led a Canadian 1-2-3 in the women’s 100-meter fly with a winning time of 59.04, while Katerine Savard checked in with a second-place time of 59.12. PPO’s Audrey Lacroix finished third overall in 59.36. That’s a big win for Thomas against Savard as Savard stands third in the world rankings in the event with a 57.27 from the Canadian National Championship. No other Canadian is in the top 20. It also is Thomas’ second fly victory of the meet after winning the 50 earlier. California’s Caitlin Leverenz was the top American finisher with a fourth-place 1:01.04.

Club Wolverine’s Geoff Cheah powered his way to victory in the men’s 100-meter fly with a time of 54.10. He went out fast in 25.32 and had the top split coming home with a 28.78 as he led wire-to-wire. UBCD’s Coleman Allen finished second in 54.51 with Rapid’s Nicolaas Dekker placing third in 54.97.

Russell Wood demonstrated some serious backstroke depth as he not only won the 200 back last night, he also took down a sprint specialist in Club Wolverine’s George Bovell tonight in the men’s 50-meter back, 26.66 to 26.97. Jeffrey Swanston, meanwhile, placed third in 27.10 with Cheah turning in a swift double to take fourth in 27.22 after having just won the 100 fly.

Island’s Keegan Zanatta put enough of a lead together to hold off a hard-charging Tristan Cote in the men’s 400-meter free, 3:57.01 to 3:57.62. Cote came home with splits of 29.62, 28.86 against Zanatta’s 30.03 and 29.04, but couldn’t make up the margin. Island’s Peter Brothers (4:03.30) and Jeremy Bagshaw (4:04.17) checked in with third and fourth-place times.

California’s Caitlin Leverenz fired off a 2:13.79 in the women’s 200-meter IM for the victory as no one else could touch her in the finale. Celina Li claimed second in the event with a 2:16.40, while Marni Oldershaw (2:19.27) and Keaton Blovad (2:21.32) finished third and fourth. Blovad, 15, entered today with a 2:35.80 personal best in the event from 2011. That’s a pretty strong drop in her first time back in the event. Evan White topped his training partner Mack Darragh in the men’s 200-meter IM, 2:05.40 to 2:06.09, while Jonathan Brown finished third in 2:07.19.

The splash-and-dash freestyle events were up next and PPO’s Victoria Poon powered her way to a win in the women’s 50-meter free with a 25.93. NYAC’s Michelle Williams touched seond in 26.01 with California’s Farida Osman (26.04) and Kaylin Bing (26.06) placing third and fourth. Club Wolverine followed with a 1-2-3 finish in the men’s 50-meter free. George Bovell topped the field in 22.91 with Geoff Cheah (23.32) placing second. Zach Hayden tied Yuri Kisil for third with matching 23.33s.

UBCD’s Tera Van Beilen pulled off the victory in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke with a 2:28.41, while Kierra Smith (2:29.12) and Martha McCabe (2:30.79) took second and third in a display of some of the best breaststrokers Canada has to offer. Club Wolverine’s Richard Funk clinched his second breaststroke win of the meet with a 2:16.21 in the men’s 200-meter breast. He already won the 100 last night, and will be looking for the sweep tomorrow in the 50. Ashton Baumann (2:21.50) and Nick Kostiuk (2:21.79) finished second and third in the finale.

UBCD’s Coleman Allen (1:52.92), Stefan Milosevic (1:51.86), Jonathan Brown (1:53.71) and Justin Chan (1:54.11) collected the men’s 800-meter free relay title in 7:32.60. CASC’s Russell Wood (1:52.98), Anthony Lyons (1:56.26), Yuri Kisil (1:55.98) and Kevin Nelson (1:57.06) took second in 7:42.28, while UCSC’s David Woodman (1:55.69), Ben Blondal (1:56.35), Christopher Neave (1:57.77) and Thomas Jobin (1:59.29) took third overall in 7:49.10.