SWIMNEWS ONLINE: April 1996 Magazine Articles

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Karin Helmstaedt

With Curtis Myden's spot in the men's 400 IM sewn up, only one spot remained to be had on the Olympic team. All eyes were on Owen Von Richter, who had recovered from his difficulties of the day before to claim lane 4 for the final. Casey Barrett of the Pacific Dolphins led after the fly leg but von Richter took the lead in the backstroke. He held that lead for the rest of the race but was unable to crack the FINA standard of 4:22.10, touching in 4:23.94.

Casey Barrett, PDSA, second in the 400 I.M., won the 200 fly. For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

"Yesterday I felt like I was going to pass out, but I think I just needed to get that first swim out of the way," he said afterward. "I'm a little upset that I missed the team, but I think I've come a long way. There are some more meets, and there is a long way to go. I'm not giving up yet."

"I think this has been a big victory for him," added his coach Cliff Barry. "The whole year has been such a fiasco."

Barrett finished second in 4:26.19.

In the women's 200 freestyle, Joanne Malar once again got in there to win. Touching first at the 100 mark (59.2), she held off the rest of the field by a full second and made the FINA standard, hitting the wall in 2:01.36. Marianne Limpert, usually a factor in this race, looked strong for 125 metres but had trouble on the last 75. A surprise second place finish went to Stephanie Richardson of North York (2:02.36), while Sophie Simard of Laval (2:02.76) and 15-year-old Jessica Deglau (2:03.05) were third and fourth respectively. The happy scenario in this event was that the times of the first six women were fast enough to make the combined qualifying time for Atlanta. In addition to the first four, fifth place Marianne Limpert and sixth place Andrea Schwartz of Regina qualified as alternates.

Robert Braknis, COBRA, winner of the 100 free and 100 back. For larger 40k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

Men's freestyle did not get better as the meet went on and the 100 only confirmed what the 200 had shown the night before: Canada's best are just not good enough. After posting a 50.87 in the heats, Stephen Clarke was upstaged by teammate Robert Braknis who won in 51.16, well off the COA standard of 50.78. A disappointed Clarke finished second in 51.38, while Craig Hutchison of Pointe Claire was third in 51.62. To qualify a relay for Atlanta the top four men would have had to average a time of 50.51...an unfortunate reality indeed.

Julie Howard won the 100 back but failed to make the COA standard. For larger 40k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

The women's 100 backstroke was also disappointing with no Olympic qualifiers. Having made the team in the freestyle relay the night before, Canadian record-holder Julie Howard of Brantford had obviously lost a bit of her concentration. She led the field by a hair and just managed to touch out Chris Natywary of Etobicoke. Howard's 1:04.34 was well off her best and 2/100 of a second off the COA standard. She will no doubt be better prepared for one of the upcoming "second chance" meets in Phoenix, Vancouver, and Charlotte, NC. Natywary finished second in 1:04.36.

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