VANCOUVER – National team members Rachel Nicol and Richard Funk both broke meet records in Sunday’s closing night of the 54th annual Mel Zajac Jr. International Swim Meet held at the UBC Aquatic Centre.
Nicol, of Lethbridge, Alta., won the women’s 50-metre breaststroke in 30.84. That shaved .07 of the pervious record set in May of 2006 by American Megan Jendrick.
Funk, an Edmonton native who trains at the High Performance Centre – Ontario, won the men’s 50-m breast in 27.92 seconds. That knocked .06 of the old mark set by former Canadian Olympic team member Scott Dickens in 2012. Funk set a meet record in winning the 100-m breaststroke in Friday’s opening session.
The record-breaking efforts earned Nicol and Funk swim of the meet honors.
MacKenzie Padington of Campbell River, B.C., who trains at the High Performance Centre – Victoria, had a busy night. She won the women’s 800-metre freestyle in eight minutes, 37.99 seconds, then was third in the 100-m free in 56.54 seconds.
All three are part of the Canadian team that will compete at the FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in July.
For Nicol, winning one of the silver dolphins handed out at the meet brought back memories of when she first started coming to the Zajac International as a youngster.
“I’ve been coming to this swim meet for such a long time,” said the 24-year-old. “I always thought when I was younger it would be so cool to win those dolphins. Now that I am, it’s nice to get a record and put my name on it.”
Like other national team members, Nicol used the meet as training for Budapest.
“Coming into this meet I didn’t have high expectations,” she said. “I wanted to swim well and I wanted to swim strong. I’m happy with how I did.”
Faith Knelson of Ladysmith, B.C., who is part of the Canadian junior team, was second in 32.06 while Winnipeg’s Kelsey Wog was third in 32.47.
Funk, who is coming off a back injury, swam better than he expected over the weekend.
“Honestly, I’ve kind of surprised myself,” said the 24-year-old. “I’ve worked really hard.
“Every time I swim in season I want to get better and work on a couple of things I did wrong from the last meet. If I can keep the momentum going forward the next couple of meets, I like where I’m at right now and I’m really excited for the summer.”
Kaelan Freund of Lethbridge, a member of the Canadian junior team, was second in 28.87, while American Caspar Corbeau was third in 29.28.
The Mel Zajac meet attracted over 500 swimmers from across Canada and the U.S. Full meet results can be found at http://results.teamunify.com/canubc/2017/zajac/.
Most summers used the meet to measure themselves as they prepared for a busy summer. Besides the world championships, there’s the FISU Universiade in Taipei, and the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Indianapolis.
Tom Johnson, head coach of the High Performance Centre – Vancouver, was satisfied with the performances during the meet.
“There are different pieces that are promising,” said Johnson, who also is part of the world championship staff.
Johnson was impressed with the efforts of the 14 members of Swimming Canada’s national men’s team who participated in a gruelling eight-day training camp prior to the meet.
“For the level of fatigue and load they are under, I think it’s pretty reasonable and encouraging,” he said.
The Zajac meet was the first major competition held in the $39-million University of British Columbia Aquatic Centre.
“I think the facility exceeded a lot of people’s expectations,” said Johnson. “The facility has been everything we hoped it would be and maybe more than what people thought it could be.”
Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson, who will swim the individual medleys in Budapest, won the 100-m freestyle in 56.06 seconds. She focused on the individual events during the Zajac meet to improve her strokes.
“That deconstruction can help my IMs,” said the Ottawa native who trains at the High Performance Centre – Vancouver. “I get to focus on each stroke and each technique.”
German Johanna Roas was second in 56.21.
In other races:
_ Yuri Kisil won the 100-m freestyle in 49.35 seconds. Markus Thormeyer, Kisil’s teammate at the High Performance Centre – Vancouver, was second in 50.60. Mehdi Ayoubi of the Canadian junior team was third in 50.74.
_ Roas won the women’s 100-m backstroke in 1:01.29. Alexandra Sumner of the U.S. junior team was second in 1:01.61 while Ingrid Wilm of the UBC Dolphins was third in 1:02.11.
_ Thormeyer won the 100-m back in 55.15 with Robert Hill, of the High Performance Centre – Vancouver, second in 56.34. Tim Zeng of the Chena Swim Club was third in 56.37.
_ Victoria’s Jon McKay took the demanding 1,500-m freestyle in 15:47.66. Josh Zakala of Island Swimming was second in 15:50.15 while Hau-Li Fan of the UBC Dolphins came third in 15:53.47.
_ Two members of the U.S. junior team finished behind Padington in the 800-m freestyle. Taylor Ault was second in 8:41.36 while Caitlyn Wilson was third in 8:56.93.
_ Dakota Luther of the U.S. junior team won the 200-m butterfly in 2:13.27, with two members of the Canadian junior team chasing her. Victoria Kwan of Richmond Hill, Ont., was second in 2:14.47 while Margaret MacNeil of London, Ont.,was third in 2:15.42.
_ Andrew Torres of Arvada, Col., won the 200-m butterfly in 2:01.95.
_ The women’s 4×100-m medley relay was won by the Canadian junior team of Jade Hannah, Knelson, MacNeil and Kwan in 4:10.45.
_ The men’s 4×100-m IM was won by Thormeyer, Funk, Josiah Binnema and Kisil, of the High Performance Centre – Vancouver, and Kisil in 3:39.85.