VICTORIA – Finlay Knox and Summer McIntosh both broke their own Canadian records and booked their tickets to this summer’s FINA World Championships during Tuesday’s opening night at the Bell Canadian Swimming Trials.
Olympic medalists Kylie Masse, in the 100-metre backstroke, and Sydney Pickrem, in the 200-m individual medley, also won their races and qualified for the world championships.
Knox, an Okotoks, Alta., native who trains at the High Performance Centre – Ontario, won the men’s 200-m I.M. in one minute, 57.50 seconds, which not only shaved about half a second off his record but also was below the world championship qualifying time of 1:59.76.
McIntosh, of the HPC – Ontario, won the 400-m freestyle in 4:01.59. That took almost two seconds off the time she swam finishing fourth at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics as a 14-year-old and was below qualifying time of 4:10.57.
Knox overcame the distraction of his race preparation being affected by a delay in the start of the meet.
“I felt like I was a little distracted in the ready room, trying to figure out when I was swimming,” he said. “I still managed to swim fast. “I gave my everything tonight. I know there is a lot of room to work for this summer. I can’t wait.”
McIntosh was pleased with the start to her week.
“Going first I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know what I was capable of,” she said. “I’m quite happy to drop time off my Olympic race.”
Masse won her race in 58.48 seconds while Taylor Ruck, her teammate at the HPC – Ontario, finished second in 59.67. Ingrid Wilm of Calgary’s Cascade Swim Club was third in 59.75. All three were under the qualifying time of 1:00.59 but only the top qualify for the world championship team.
Masse is a two-time world champion in the 100 back and won silver in the event at the Tokyo 2020 Games but was taking nothing for granted entering this week’s trials.
“There’s always someone coming behind you, there’s always young ones,” she said. “You never know what someone else is going to pull in a meet like this. It always keeps me on my toes.
“I’m nervous coming in. If I wasn’t nervous that would be a problem.”
Pickrem won the 200 IM in 2:10.58. Mary-Sophie Harvey of CAMO was second in 2:10.98, also under the qualifying time of 2:12.98.
“We look at trials as a stepping stone,” said Pickrem. “I had a lot of nerves going into it. I had to keep reminding myself let’s just get it done. It’s nice I got that out of the way.”
Harvey swam her fastest time in the event in six years.
“It’s nice to finally get that right now,” she said. “I’m excited.”
In other races, Javier Acevedo won the 100-metre backstroke in 54.37 seconds, good enough to earn him a spot on the world championship team. Jeremy Bagshaw of the Island Swimming Club won the men’s 400-m freestyle in 3:52.01, which was over the qualifying time.
Nicholas Bennett, a native of Parksville, B.C., who now trains at the High Performance Centre – Quebec, won the Para multi-class 100-m breaststroke in 1:05.65. That was just off the SB14 Canadian record of 1:05.39 he set during the morning preliminaries.
“The tapering process for this one was a little bit weird,” said Bennett. “It’s extremely pleasant to see where I am at this point.”
James Leroux, Bennett’s teammate at the Quebec centre, was second in 1:11.81 while Jagdev Gill of the Upper Canada Swim Club was third in 1:16.02.
Tess Routliffe, who is overcoming a major back injury that caused her to miss the Tokyo Paralympics, won the Para multi-class 100-m breaststroke in 1:33.80.
“I’m really happy,” said Routliffe, who trains at the HPC-Quebec. “It’s been a rough year. It’s definitely been a journey to get back here. My goal was to hit some times and see where we are at.”
Katrina Roxon, who trains with the Aqua Aces Swim Club in St. John’s, N.L., was second while Abi Tripp of the Kingston Y Penguins Aquatic Club, was third.
Jacob Brayshaw of the KISU Swim Club in Penticton, B.C., won the multi-class 50-m breaststroke in 2:00.01
The trials, being held through Sunday at Saanich Commonwealth Place, have attracted 552 swimmers from 131 clubs across the country. The competition will select the Swimming Canada teams competing at the FINA World Championships in June in Budapest, Hungary; the Commonwealth Games in July in Birmingham, England; and the World Para Swimming Championships scheduled for June in Madeira, Portugal.
All sessions will be streamed live on CBC Sports, with commentary for the finals from former national team swimmers Jasen Pratt and Sarah Mailhot. Live streams can be watched with the free CBC Gem streaming service, at cbcsports.ca as well as through the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices.
Also selected will be squads heading to the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Hawaii and the FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships in Seychelles.
For more information visit: https://www.swimming.ca/en/events-results/events/2022-canadian-swimming-trials/.
Photo and story courtesy of Swimming Canada Natation.