Hurd Cracks 50 Seconds 100 Free at Speedo East Canadian Nationals

MONTREAL, Canada, February 18. TWO-time Olympian Andrew Hurd of Toronto broke the 50-second barrier in the men's 100-meter freestyle for the first time in his career on Saturday for his second gold medal at the Speedo East Nationals short course swimming competition.

Hurd, who specializes in the 200 and 400 freestyles, clocked 49.89 seconds for the win. He was also first in Friday's 400 freestyle and second in Thursday's 800 freestyle. Thomas Kindler of Montreal was second in 50.29 and Octavian Petre of Montreal third in 50.49.

The East Nationals are an important measuring stick for Hurd in preparation for the world championships next month in Australia. At the 2005 worlds in Montreal, Hurd helped Canada to silver in the 800 freestyle relay.

"I'm happy with my speed right now, it really augurs well for the events I'm focusing on for the worlds," said Hurd. "I'm right where I want to be. My goal was to go under 50 seconds tonight so I gained a lot of confidence with that performance."

Other winners in men's competition were Mathieu Bois of Montreal in the 50 and 200 breaststrokes, Nicolas Bovell of Montreal in the 200 backstroke and Tobias Oriwol of Pointe-Claire, Que., in the 200 butterfly.

Winners in women's competition were Lisa Blackburn of Waterloo, Ont., in the 50 and 200 breaststrokes, Victoria Poon of Montreal in the 100 freestyle, Gabrielle Soucisse of Beaconsfield, Que., in the 200 backstroke and Stephanie Horner of Beaconsfield in the 200 butterfly.