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Hilary Caldwell tunes up for trials with victory at Speedo Western Canadian Open

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WINNIPEG – Hilary Caldwell of White Rock, B.C., produced a solid performance in preparation for upcoming Olympic trials on Saturday with a victory in the women’s 200-m backstroke at the Speedo Western Canadian Open swimming competition.

Caldwell clocked two minutes and 10.32 seconds with Brooklynn Snodgrass of Calgary second in 2:12.51 and Mackenzie Glover of Winnipeg third in 2:13.71.

The women’s 200-m backstroke is expected to be one of the most hotly contested races at the Olympic Trials set for Toronto April 5-10. Caldwell was a finalist at the last two world championships including a bronze in 2013.

‘’We’re still in heavy training so I was pretty happy with that swim,’’ said Caldwell, based at the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre-Victoria. ‘’I knew my speed wasn’t going to be quite there yet but the splitting was good, I was encouraged with my turns and hitting all the skills I need to have at trials.’’

This competition is an important component in her preparations for the trials.

‘’I had raced only once this year so I definitely wanted to attend another meet for sure and it’s just nice to get off the blocks one more time and make sure everything is going in the right direction.’’

Other winners in women’s competition were: Sophie Saroukian of Edmonton in the 400-m freestyle, Georgia Kidd of Edmonton in the 100-m butterfly and Rachel Nicol of Lethbridge, Alta., in the 50-m breaststroke.

In men’s competition winners were: Jeremy Bagshaw of Victoria in the 400-m freestyle; Wyatt Yarish of Calgary in the 100-m butterfly, Adam Best of Edmonton in the 200-m backstroke and Andrew Poznikoff of Burnaby, B.C., in the 50-m breaststroke.

Competition is also being held in the youth category (15 and under for girls and 16 and under for boys). Alexandre Pratt of Calgary won the 400-m freestyle clocking a personal best 4:04.12 to qualify for his first Olympic trials.

‘’It feels awesome to know I’m going to trials,’’ said Pratt with three victories so far this week. ‘’The 1500-m free is my best race and I was mostly focused on that to qualify. So it’s great to settle that earlier than expected.

‘’It’s been an amazing week for me.’’

Competition ends Sunday at the Pan Am Pool.

Full results: