MONTREAL – Burlington’s Colin Russell was 55 one-hundreds of a second from a first place finish in the Men’s 200-metre freestyle at the 2006 Pan Pacific Trials and National Championships on Thursday.
The swimmer, who recently relocated from Barrie, was timed in 1:49.44.4 to finish third behind winner Andrew Hurd. The Cambridge-born Hurd touched at 1:48.89.2 with Vancouver’s Brent Hayden taking second place in 1:48.99.
Competition continues through to Sunday at Parc Jean-Drapeau centre with the top-two from each event and the best 18 and under swimmer earning berths on Canada’s team for the Pan Pacific Championships, Aug. 16-21 in Victoria, B.C.
Mackenzie Downing of Whitehorse was an upset winner in the women’s 200m butterfly. The Victoria-based athlete had a clocking of 2:11.07 to beat heavily favoured Audrey Lacroix of Montreal, who was second in 2:11.28. Kayla Rawlings of Langley, B.C., was third in 2:13.56.
“In the prelims I muscled my way too much to the finish so I focused on staying relaxed for the final and it worked,” said Downing, 19. “I didn’t expect to beat Audrey. I’m definitely thinking of my coaches in Whitehorse who helped me so much and my parents of course. We use to drive for three days to get to Vancouver so I could compete.”
The women’s 1,500 freestyle provided another surprise. Savanah King, 14, of Vernon, B.C., took the gold in a personal best 16:34.27. She passed double world championship medallist Brittany Reimer of Victoria in the last 100. Reimer clocked 16:42.57 and Tanya Hunks of Vancouver was third in 16:51.06.
“My strategy was to stay with Brittany the entire race,” said King, who enters Grade 9 this fall. “I was confident I could do that but I knew I would be difficult. I’m surprised to get the win.”
“Savannah can battle through the pain that builds up in such a race,” said King’s coach Claude-Yves Bertrand. King is his first national champ in a 22-year coaching career. “When I saw how strong she was in the end, I was so excited that I forgot to write down the splits. Her improvement this year has been simply phenomenal.”
It was also a first Canadian crown for Chanelle Charron-Watson. The Quebec City resident clocked a personal best one minute and 59.99 seconds to win the women’s 200 freestyle. Julia Wilkinson of Toronto was second at 2:01.79 and Melanie Bouchard of Quebec City third at 2:01.84.
“I’ve been dreaming about winning a Canadian title for a long time and to do it tonight is beyond my expectations,” said Charron-Watson, one of Canada’s busiest international swimmers this summer competing on European and American circuits. “I swam a personal best initially in the morning prelims. I was nervous but confident for the final.”
Kelly Stefanyshyn of Vancouver and Erin Gammel of Calgary went 1-2 in the women’s 100 backstroke.
In the men’s races top-two finishers were Matt Hawes of Vancouver and Nathan O’Brien of Victoria in the 100 backstroke, Adam Sioui of Calgary and Stefan Hirniak of Victoria in the 200 butterfly.
Junior swimmers also gaining Pan Pac team spots were Rawlings, Karah Stanworth-Belleville of Beaconsfield, Que., in the 100 backstroke, Emily Wing of Nepean, Ont., in the 200 freestyle and Monika Stitski of Etobicoke, Ont., in the 1,500 freestyle. For the men, Jake Tapp of Langley in the 100 backstroke, Jonathan Blouin of Quebec City in the 200 butterfly and Joel Greenshields of Calgary in the 200 freestyle.
Thursday’s leading results at the 2006 Canadian Pan Pacific Trials and National Championships swimming competition (all distances in metres):
100 backstroke: 1. Matt Hawes, Vancouver, 56.25; 2. Nathan O’Brien, Victoria, 56.47; 3. Keith Beavers, Waterloo, Ont., 56.61; 4. Callum Ng, Vancouver, 57.19; 5. Jake Tapp, Langley, B.C., 57.46; 6. Pascal Wollach, Calgary, 57.48; 7. Desmond Strelzow, Victoria, 58.11; 8. Felix Renaud, Beauport, Que., 58.31.
200 butterfly: 1. Adam Sioui, Calgary, 2:01.28; 2. Stefan Hirniak, Victoria, 2:01.52; 3. Jonathan Blouin, Quebec City, 2:02.45; 4. Mackenzie Leblanc, Edmonton, 2:03.85; 5. Chad Murray, Calgary, 2:04.44; 6. Patrick Cuch, Toronto, 2:05.05; 7. Cameron Hyder, Calgary, 2:05.98; 8. Richard Alexander, Victoria, 2:06.24.
200 freestyle: 1. Andrew Hurd, Toronto, 1:48.89; 2. Brent Hayden, Vancouver, 1:48.99; 3. Colin Russell, Burlington, Ont., 1:49.44; 4. Brian Johns, Vancouver, 1:49.48; 5. Rick Say, Victoria, 1:49.62; 6. Tobias Oriwol, Etobicoke, Ont., 1:51.00; 7. Chad Hankewich, Saskatoon, 1:51.07; 8. Joel Greenshields, Calgary, 1:51.35.
100 backstroke: 1. Kelly Stefanyshyn, Vancouver, 1:02.48; 2. Erin Gammel, Calgary, 1:03.06; 3. Caitlin Meredith, Vancouver, 1:03.13; 4. Elizabeth Wycliffe, Kingston, Ont., 1:03.61; 5. Karah Stanworth-Belleville, Beaconsfield, Que., 1:03.97; 6. Katelyn Murdoch, Calgary, 1:04.32; 7. Landice Yestrau, Winnipeg, 1:04.35; 8. Gabrielle Soucisse, Beaconsfield, Que., 1:04.60.
200 freestyle: 1. Chanelle Charron-Watson, Quebec City, 1:59.99; 2. Julia Wilkinson, North York, Ont., 2:01.79; 3. Melanie Bouchard, Quebec City, 2:01.84; 4. Genevieve Saumur, Montreal, 2:01.94; 5. Maya Beaudry, Vancouver, 2:02.00; 6. Elizabeth Collins, Vancouver, 2:03.58; 7. Audrey Lacroix, Montreal, 2:04.45; 8. Emily Wong, Nepean, Ont., 2:05.11.
200 butterfly: 1. Mackenzie Downing, Victoria, 2:11.07; 2. Audrey Lacroix, Montreal, 2:11.28; 3. Kayla Rawlings, Langley, B.C., 2:13.56; 4. Melanie Dodds, Langley, and Erin Miller, Vernon, B.C., 2:16.57; 6. Rachelle Salli, Langley, 2:19.08; 7. Kim Kabesh, Edmonton, 2:19.86; 8. Pamela Veilleux, Trois-Rivieres, Que., 2:20.26.
1,500 freestyle : 1. Savannah King, Vernon, B.C., 16:34.27; 2. Brittany Reimer, Victoria, 16:42.57; 3. Tanya Hunks, Vancouver, 16:51.06; 4. Monika Stitski, Etobicoke, Ont., 17:06.20; 5. Karley Stutzel, Victoria, 17:06.83; 6. Tara Ivanitz, Vernon, 17:08.68; 7. Laura Kendall, Waterloo, Ont., 17:12.72; 8. Shannon Garrett, New Westminster, B.C., 17:18.56.