Oakville swimmer is London bound

MONTREAL – Tera Van Beilen of Oakville and Jillian Tyler of Calgary landed the two available spots in the highly-anticipated women’s 100-metre breaststroke final on Thursday (March 29) at the Olympic swimming trials.

Burlington native Scott Dickens, now living in Vancouver, and Brittany MacLean of Etobicoke met the Olympic standard for a second event while six more swimmers added their names to the nomination list bringing the total to 17 after two days.

The new nominees are Tyler, Van Beilen, Ryan Cochrane of Victoria, Barbara Jardin of Montreal, Samantha Cheverton of Pointe-Claire, Que., and Amanda Reason of Windsor, Ont.

In the women’s 100 breaststroke, Tyler clocked a personal best 1:07.18 edging second place finisher 18-year-old Van Beilen who clocked 1:07.37. Both times were under the FINA Olympic qualifying standard. Martha McCabe of Toronto and Ashley McGregor of Pointe-Claire also went under the standard but only two spots were available for the Olympic team in the event.

Van Beilen, who enjoyed a brilliant junior career, seemed almost overwhelmed to know she is heading to London.

“I’ve been dreaming about this a very long time,” she said. “I can’t believe this is happening.”

Spectators had plenty to cheer about in the women’s 200 freestyle as Jardin and Cheverton went under the qualifying standard to earn their tickets to London clocking 1:57.34 and 1:57.98 respectively. MacLean and Reason were third and fourth and also received a nomination as the four combined times met the 4X200 freestyle standard.

The most emotional race of the evening may have been the men’s 200 breaststroke. Dickens won in 2:12.69 but Mike Brown of Calgary, the Canadian record holder and two-time Olympic finalist, fell short in his bid for a third Games.

“It was bittersweet tonight,” said Dickens, who also qualified in the 100 breaststroke this week. “It’s difficult to see Mike Brown, one of Canada’s greatest swimmers, not make the team. I really feel for him but that’s the nature of this meet. It’s nothing like any other meet you go to.”

Brown retired after the Beijing Games but decided to come back after a year hiatus to try and land a spot for the 2012 Games.

Cochrane, the Olympic bronze medallist in the 1,500 freestyle, dominated the men’s 400 freestyle finishing in 3:47.07 more than five seconds ahead of runner-up Chad Bobrosky of Calgary.