Finlay Knox Sets 200 IM Canadian Record at TPASC High Performance Time Trials

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Finlay Knox; Photo Courtesy: lan MacNicol / Swimming Canada

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Finlay Knox set a Canadian record in the men’s 200 individual medley this weekend as some of Canada’s top swimmers positioned themselves for the twice-delayed Olympic Trials.

The event, held at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre that will host Canadian Olympic Trials in June, was held in part due to the delays to the Olympic selection event. As Swimming Canada has provisionally selected six swimmers to their Tokyo delegation, it’s a chance to lay down a time for consideration and also jockey for space in the relay consideration in case Trials can’t happen.

The weekend’s meet was limited to swimmers based in the eastern part of the country, led by those at the Toronto High Performance Centre. A number of the nation’s top swimmers (among them Markus Thormeyer, Kelsey Wog and Brent Hayden) are based in British Columbia and did not compete.

Knox had the headline time, going 1:58.88 in the 200 IM. That’s a reduction of more than a half-second from his previous best, which had been an Olympic A cut. It erases the record set by Keith Beavers at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (1:59.19). That record is one of four from those Games that are the oldest individual records on the men’s side. Knox also set the short-course meters record during the International Swimming League season with the Toronto Titans.

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Rebecca Smith; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Knox also thrust himself into the conversation in the 400 freestyle relay. Knox was second in 49.28, trailing only Joshua Liendo at 49.15. Ruslan Gasiev clocked in at 49.33 with veteran Yuri Kisil in 49.35.

All of those times are faster than the last two times to take part in the Canadian men’s 400 free relay at the 2019 World Championships. Thormeyer got there at 48.71 with Kisil (48.28 at the 2016 Olympics). The other two spots went to Will Pisani (49.43 before Worlds) and Carson Olafson (49.53).

The women’s side provided plenty of intrigue, featuring all five of the women pre-selected to the Olympics. For the most part, the time trials went true to form. Sydney Pickrem, who qualified in both individual medleys, went a solid 2:10.29 in the 200 IM, 1.7 seconds off her national record. Kylie Maase was first in both of the events she is pre-selected for, the 100 back (58.48) and 200 back (2:07.60). Maggie MacNeil (57.55 in the 100 butterfly) and Penny Oleksiak (1:57.37 in the 200 free) also won events in which they’re pre-qualified.

One surprise came in the 100 free. Taylor Ruck is pre-selected, but she finished fifth in 54.72. First Saturday was Kayla Sanchez, who is not guaranteed a spot for Tokyo, in 53.57, a personal-best. Oleksiak was second in 53.89 with MacNeil in 54.27. The first three times are A cuts. Rebecca Smith was fourth in 54.44.

In the 200, Smith had another strong showing, .06 behind Oleksiak in 1:57.43. Sanchez was fourth in 1:58.07. Pickrem threw her hat in the relay ring with a 1:59.15, a personal-best.

Third in the 200 free was Summer McIntosh, who went 1:57.65. The 14-year-old also dropped nearly 20 seconds in the 1,500 to go 16:15.19, which is an A cut and just outside the top 40 in the world, per FINA’s rankings.

Pickrem stated her case for a 100 breast nod by going 1:07.43, within .23 of her best and .36 form the A standard.

The women also reinforced that the 100 back will be one of the races to watch at Trials. Masse was first, but Maggie MacNeil turned in a personal-best 59.45 to take second. The puts her ahead of Ruck (1:00.19) and Sanchez (1:00.55), who already figured to battled it out at Trials.

On the men’s side, Liendo also turned in a solid time in the 100 fly in 52.54. He won the 50 free in 22.40, .06 ahead of Kisil with Gaziev third in 22.66. Knox also clocked a best time in the 100 breast in 1:03.29.

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