SWIMNEWS ONLINE: April 1996 Magazine Articles

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Karin Helmstaedt

On the fourth night the already limping men's program suffered another shock when Jon Cleveland failed to make the Olympic team in the 200 breaststroke. Eight years ago at the 1988 Trials, Cleveland beat the defending Olympic champion Victor Davis in the same pool to make his first Olympic team. This time he just managed to hold a revved up Andrew Chan at bay with his time of 2:17.48. Chan's fluid stroke showed promise as he finished second in 2:18.04. In order to swim the event in Atlanta, Cleveland will have to equal or better the FINA standard of 2:15.59 at one of the designated meets before June 16.

A much improved Andrew Chan reached the podium in both breaststrokes. For larger 40k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

Happily, the women's 200 IM was once again a tight race to the finish, and Joanne Malar wowed the crowd with her third win, adding a fourth event onto her agenda for Atlanta. Both Marianne Limpert and Nancy Sweetnam pushed her, taking the fly leg out in under 30 seconds, with Sweetnam very competitive in the breaststroke, but Malar's freestyle was not to be beaten. All three women were under the FINA standard, and Limpert, the record holder in this event, finally clinched an individual spot on the team. "This is the event I was focussing on," she said. "It's hard to swim the 100 and 200 free first just because they are not my main events. I'm glad I qualified but I would have liked to be a bit faster." The times: Malar, 2:15.49; Limpert, 2:15.75; Sweetnam, 2:16.82. Along with the breaststrokes, women's IM is still one of Canada's strongest disciplines.

It was a bad night for Stephen Clarke as he missed the team yet again in the 100 butterfly. What made it worse was the fact that he had more than made the FINA standard of 54.59 in the morning, but his heat time of 54.47 was null and void when the final was over. Eddie Parenti got it together and overtook Clarke to earn his second Olympic berth with a time of 54.53. Clarke, who had been favoured to win this event, was second in 54.67, fractions of a second away from a ticket to Atlanta. He was obviously devastated and, although he will no doubt try again at one or more of the second-chance meets, the tight schedule (and this is the worry for all those in this position) may leave him with precious little rest for the main event.

Jessica Amey understands that kind of heartbreak. At the 1992 Olympic Trials, the Calgary swimmer made the standard in the heats of the 100 fly, only to miss the mark by 6/100 in the final. Then at last summer's Pan Pacific Championships she missed the prequalifying standard by 3/100. This time she was dead on the mark of 1:01.69, albeit relegated to second place. After a disappointing 200 freestyle, Sarah Evanetz of the Pacific Dolphins had a great race and came through to win the event in 1:01.18, a personal best.

Emotional moment as Amey embraces Evanetz. For larger 40k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

Both women were ecstatic after the race, with Amey jumping out of the pool to hug her coach, Deryk Snelling. The jubilant Amey, a pro at "cutting it close," had shaved her head after a bet with teammate Mark Versfeld. "I lost my hair this afternoon, so I figured, okay, I've got nothing left to lose...go for it now!" she laughed. "I'm really, really glad I made it." Evanetz was all smiles. "It hasn't quite hit me yet," she said. She echoed Amey's thoughts on the difficult nature of an Olympic Trials situation. "I think that there's a lot more pressure on actually making the team at the Trials than there is at the Games themselves. That's when I'm most nervous (at the Trials) and I think once I get to Atlanta it's just going to be fun. I'm sure I'll do another best time-hopefully under a minute. That would be great."

Shona Kitson of Windsor, who led the race to the 75 mark, finished in fourth place (1:02.17) behind Andrea Schwartz (1:01.98).

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