Jason Block Shines on Day 1 at 2015 Canadian Swimming Championships

Photo Courtesy: Swimming Canada

Jason Block won men’s 200-metre breaststroke at the Canadian Swimming Championships on Thursday, posting a time that would have won the Canadian Team Trials this spring.

At Pointe-Claire Aquatic Centre, where the senior national championships will take place through Sunday, the 25-year-old Calgary swimmer won 200-m breaststroke in two minutes 12.87 seconds, shading Toronto Swim Club’s Eli Wall by one-tenth of a second. That was part of a big night for Calgary-based swimmers. Cascade Swim Club’s Brooklyn Snodgrass and Ingrid Wilm shared gold in women’s 100-m backstroke.

Block was fifth at Canadian Team Trials in April, where James Dergousoff triumphed in 2:13.11. Thursday’s result was the residue of overhauling his routine as he eyes a trip to the 2016 Olympics.

“I definitely would have preferred to do at Trials, but sometimes we have to take what we can get,” said Block, who is with the University of Calgary Swim Club. “I’m happy; it’s the first time I’ve had a best time in a few years. It feels good to be at my best again and hopefully I can keep bringing it down.

“As you quit growing, it’s harder to keep taking off time,” Block added. “I’ve made some changes in my program and in my training. It took a while to pay off but it appears it finally is. The focus is the same for me, which is the Olympics. Trials for that are in April. I think I’m a good place to be. I have a lot of hard work to do yet.”

Kelsey Wog won women’s 200-m breaststroke in 2:27.59. The 16-year-old University of Manitoba Bisons Swimming standout topped 2012 Olympian Tera Van Beilen, who earned bronze.

For Snodgrass, 21, and Wilm, 17, touching the wall simultaneously at 1:01.31 was a microcosm of their practices together at Cascade. Newmarket Stingrays’ Danielle Hanus (1:01.96) earned bronze.

“It’s probably one of the best races I’ve had all summer,” said Snodgrass, who competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games before opting for rest instead of attending this spring’s Trials. “I was great to the 75 (metre split) before Ingrid came and caught me at the end. But that’s not unusual. That always happens in practice, too. It was great seeing the look on her face.

“I saw ‘one’ by my name on the clock and then saw ‘one’ by Ingrid’s,” Snodgrass related. “Ingrid and I train together and she’s been wiping my name from the record book for years. I was telling her before this race that I was going to put her in her place. Her tying me was the perfect ending.”

Wilm had a 29.54-second final 50, making nearly a half-second on Snodgrass.

“Usually my coach and I work on going out under 30 [seconds] and holding on for the last 50,” said Wilm. “Tonight I cruised out and I had so much energy the last half. I passed the swimmer beside me and said, ‘Ingrid, you can do well here.’ I just went for it and held on for dear life. It was the fastest back 50 that I’ve ever done.”

Chena Swim Club’s 19-year-old Robert Hill won men’s 100-m backstroke in 55.87.

Alexander Milosevic, 20, of Burnaby, B.C., won men’s 200-m freestyle in 1:49.99. Milosevic copped two golds on the night, teaming with UBC Dolphin Association’s Coleman Allen, Heather Lam and Rebecca Terejko to win 4×100-m mixed relay in 3:34.88.

Toronto Swim Club’s Lauren Earp won women’s 200-m freestyle in a personal-best 2:00.55.

Olivia Anderson, 16, of Etobicoke Swimming Club and Molly Gowans, 15, of University of Victoria-Pacific Swimming Club were the two Canadians that finished women’s 1,500-m freestyle in fewer than 17 minutes. Anderson won in 16:45.40, with Gowans earning silver in 16:52.84.

Pan Am Games team member Kier Maitland won men’s 800-m freestyle in 8:01.05. Sixteen-year-old Colin Gilbert of Kamloops, B.C., was the second-fastest Canadian at 8:12.69.

University of Toronto Varsity Blues swimmer Cameron Kidd, 19, representing his W. Ross Macdonald club from Brantford, Ont., won men’s 50-m butterfly in 24.24. Kidd outsprinted Montreal Aquatic Club’s Owen Daly (24.42).

Fifteen-year-old Penny Oleksiak of the Toronto Swim Club won women’s 50-m butterfly in 27.03 to edge Guelph Marlins’ 17-year-old Emma Ball (27.19).

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2015 Canadian Swimming Championships: Day 1 – Results