Blue Ribband Wins For Hayden & Wilkinson
Mar 31, 2011 - Adam Sioui
Julia Wilkinson broke the only national record of the premiere night of finals at the 2011 Canadian World Championship trials, the new standard coming in the 50-metre backstroke. Although it’s an event that will be tested at the upcoming Shanghai competition in late July, it’s not one that earns selection in Victoria.
Wilkinson quickly made that irrelevant as she bested favourite Victoria Poon, on her way to winning the 100-metre freestyle in 54.93. Poon used her talent to speed out to the early lead at the only turn, but it was not enough as Wilkinson - who now trains at the site of the meet - stormed home fifty-five 1/100’s faster than her challenger. Nevertheless, Poon (55.11) will join her Olympic teammate as she qualified under the FINA ‘A’ standard.
"I’m excited about the victory," Wilkinson told reporters. "I’ve never won a 100 freestyle before at a trials event but I got a good pep talk from my Dad coming over here and that really helped."
It will be a sad day when Brent Hayden finally decides to hang up his speedo. The cue-balled 2007 World Champion has been a force to be reckoned in the sprint freestyles for a number of years. When last season ended, Hayden stood alone atop the world rankings in the 100-metre free - the only one to crack the 48-second barrier. At domestic events, he seems to merely toy with his opposition, as there has been nary a man to question his supremacy. Hayden won his signature race in a cool 48.83, well ahead of second place finisher Colin Russell in 49.73.
"This is a good starting point," Hayden told reporters. "I’ll take it. My focus is on winning gold at the world championships."
Alexa Komarnycky and Stephanie Horner raged an exciting battle in the 400 individual medley, with the former finally taking the title in 4:43.53. The two were never more than a second apart for the entire race, and both under the cut, so Horner will also have an opportunity to improve when China comes calling. Another national team appearance is a welcome return for Horner, who has struggled to regain her form after qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It appears much better days are ahead. She finished in 4:43.89.
For the men, Andrew Ford earned a spot on the team with a 4:20.48 win. Ford used the breaststroke portion to pull away from the field, before cruising to victory over Jordan Hartney (4:23.43) by just under three seconds. Although neither was under the required standard, Ford’s win alone stamps his ticket, while all others will search for answers in future attempts.
Fresh off of her NCAA win in the 100-metre breaststroke, Jillian Tyler put together another dominating performance in the long course equivalent, stopping the clock first in 1:07.56. Tianna Rissling, only eighteen years of age, held on for the silver, but most importantly the second spot on the squad. Incredibly, the top six finishers were all under the FINA ‘A’ qualifying time. I’m not sure if this says more about the difficulty of the standard, or the proficiency of Canada’s breaststrokers.
"I’ve wanted to go under 1:08 for a couple of years now," Tyler told reporters. "It’s been a little bit of rocky road since 2008 but after making the team for the Pan Pacific championships last year I’ve been riding the momentum since then."
Rissling, 18, said: "It’s such a great feeling to know your hard work has paid off. When I heard the announcer say I was in the lead, at one point, I nearly choked in the water. I just tried to hold it together until the end."
The previous night saw Scott Dickens fall to the return of Mike Brown in the longer breaststroke discipline. In the shorter distance, the spots were flipped, as Dickens exacted his revenge, winning the final in 1:01.63, over Brown’s 1:01.70. As we’ve all grown accustomed to see, Brown pressed the winner on the back half, but was unable to overcome the 2004 Olympian’s early pace.
In other swims, Katerine Savard moved one spot higher on the podium from her second place showing in last night’s 200-metre butterfly, with a win in the 50-metre. Her time was 26.96; Paige Miller was second in 27.10. On the men’s side, Joe Bartoch eked out a win (24.38), over Kelly Aspinall (24.47). Bartoch will see his chance for Shanghai glory when the 100-metre ‘fly sets off on day three.
Eight new names join the ten from yesterday on team Canada. Two more days of competition await. Stay tuned.
Day 2 qualifiers
Women: 100 freestyle: Julia Wilkinson, IS, Randy Bennett; Victoria Poon, PPO, Benoit Lebrun; Chantal Vanlandegham, MANTA, Tom Hainey; Genevieve Saumur, PPO, Benoit Lebrun; 100 breaststrake Jillian Tyler, CASC; Tianna Rissling, AMAC, Peter Schori; 400 IM: Alexandra Komarnycky, IS, Randy Bennett; Stephanie Horner, IS, Randy Bennett
Men: 100 freestyle: Brent Hayden, UBCD, Tom Johnson; Colin Russell, DS; Dominique Massie-Martel, PCSC, Nicholas Perron; 100 breaststroke: Scott Dickens, UBCD, Tom Johnson; 400 IM: Andrew Ford, GMAC, Don Burton
Results at a glance, day 2: