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Backstroker Hilary Caldwell excited to finally swim her best event at trials

Olympic and Para-swimming Trials –

By Jim Morris

TORONTO – The long wait is finally over for Hilary Caldwell.

Caldwell swam two minutes, 08.43 seconds for the fastest time in the women’s 200-metre backstroke Sunday morning at the Olympic and Para-swimming Trials, presented by RBC.

Caldwell’s best chance to be nominated for the swim team headed to this summer’s Rio Olympics comes on the last day of the six-day meet. She’s spent a lot of time watching, waiting and wondering.

“I’m glad it’s finally my turn,” said Caldwell, who trains at the High Performance Centre – Victoria. “It’s a lot of waiting and a lot of emotion, ups and downs.

“I don’t know if I can take any more days of waiting over the last four days.”

Caldwell was third in Wednesday’s 100-m back. Since then she’s tried to block out the distractions and keep focused on her event.

“You try to keep calm and know what ever people are doing, whether it’s great or not great, it’s not going to affect what I’m doing,” she said. “I can feel but I can’t let it bug me.”

Caldwell, who holds the Canadian record of 2:06.80, needs to finish first or second in tonight’s race. She also must swim under the nomination standard of 2:10.60.

She was confident after her morning swim.

“It was a great swim,” said Caldwell, who won gold in the 200-back at the Toronto Parapan Am Games and was seventh at the world championships. “I’m excited to really move tonight.”

Dominique Bouchard of North Bay, Ont., was second in qualifying, also swimming under the nomination time in 2:09.63.

The top two qualifiers in the women’s 50-m freestyle both went under the nomination standard of 25.28 seconds. Winnipeg’s Chantal Van Landeghem was timed in 25.07 while Michelle Williams of Toronto was 25.10. Both train at the Higher Performance Centre – Ontario.

You try to keep calm and know what ever people are doing, whether it’s great or not great, it’s not going to affect what I’m doing. I can feel but I can’t let it bug me.” – Hilary Caldwell

Santo Condorelli of Kenora, Ont., was the fastest Canadian in the men’s 50-m free, finishing in 22.34. Yuri Kisil, who trains at the High Performance Centre – Vancouver, was next at 22.56.

Luke Reilly, who swims at the High Performance Centre – Vancouver, led the men’s 200-m individual medley in 2:03.07. Mack Darragh of Oakville, Ont., was next in 2:03.32. The nomination standard is 2:00.28.

In the Para-swimming, Aurelie Rivard of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., had the fastest qualifying time in the women’s multi-class 100-m freestyle. The S10 swimmer, who already has won four gold medals this week, was timed in 1:02.59.

Katerina Roxon of Kippens, NL, had the best S9 time of 1:07.87.

“I’m always weak in the morning,” said Roxon, who looking to compete at her third Paralympics. “I need to go a little harder tonight.”

Zack McAllister of Lethbridge, Alta., led the men’s 100-m freestyle. The S8 swimmer was timed in 1:01.74.

Heading into Sunday night 24 swimmers (17 women, seven men) have made the nomination standard for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The Para-swimmers who have met the nomination standard will be acknowledged tonight.

The trials attracted 762 swimmers from 187 clubs cross Canada, the United States and other parts of the world. The competition was held at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, the same pool that hosted last year’s Pan American and Parapan Am Games.

All finals sessions will be webcast live on beginning at 6:45 p.m. ET. For full results and more information visit