TORONTO – Markus Thormeyer made some history with a sweep and Penny Oleksiak fought off a challenge from Taylor Ruck for her first victory of the 2019 Canadian Swimming Trials Saturday night.
Thormeyer (High Performance Centre – Vancouver) cruised to his fourth victory in as many races, winning the 200-metre freestyle in a personal best one minute, 47.60 seconds. He previously had won the 100-m freestyle plus the 100-m and 200-m backstroke. His 100 back was a Canadian record and two other times were personal bests.
It’s the first time a male swimmer has won these four events at one Canadian trials.
“That was my last race, it feels good to cap it off with another win,” said the 21-year-old Vancouver resident. “I have trained for all of this. It feels great to see improvements in all these races.”
Two of Thormeyer’s teammates at the HPC also swam qualifying times for the 4×200-m freestyle relay at this summer’s FINA World Championships in Gwangju, Korea.
Alexander Pratt was second in 1:48.74 while Carson Olafson was fourth in 1:49.59. Jeremy Bagshaw (High Performance Centre – Victoria) was third in 1:49.03.
“A big part of relays is you’re not swimming for yourself, your swimming for your team and your country,” said Thormeyer. “So, when you train with these guys, every day watching them push themselves to the max in the pool, when you’re on a relay with them, I want to swim fast for them. I don’t want to let them down.
“I want to do great. I want this relay to do great. I want to walk around proud of myself and this team with these boys here.”
Oleksiak and Ruck went stroke for stroke in the exciting women’s 200-m freestyle. Oleksiak touched first in 1:56.92, just .05 ahead of her teammate from the High Performance Centre – Ontario, who won gold in the 200 at last year’s Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships.
“I couldn’t believe I’m with Taylor at all because she’s insanely fast,” said Oleksiak. “I just tried to be in the race the best I could.”
The win came about 24 hours after Oleksiak finished third in the 100-m butterfly, the same race she had won a silver medal in at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.
“After the fly I was disappointed for maybe a minute, then I (decided) move forward, you have another day of racing, see what happens tomorrow,” Oleksiak said.
She admitted feeling some nerves Saturday.
“I just tried to stay calm, have fun and joke around as much as I could,” she said. “I wanted to channel my nervous nerves into excited nerves.”
Kayla Sanchez (High Performance Centre – Ontario) was third in 1:58.28 and Rebecca Smith (University of Toronto) fourth in 1:58.64.
The four women met the standard to swim the 4×200-m freestyle relay at the world championships.
An animated Mack Darragh (High Performance Centre – Ontario) pumped his fist in celebration after winning the men’s 200-m butterfly in 1:56.58.
“I knew it was going to have to be an almost perfect race,” said Darragh. “All the technique had to come together, and I had to push myself the whole time.”
The top two finishers under the A standard in each Olympic event can earn selection to Team Canada.
In Paralympic program results, James Leroux (High Performance Centre – Quebec) broke his own SB9 Canadian record in the men’s multi-class 100-m breaststroke. His time of 1:09.24 shaved .22 of the mark he sent in 2017.
“Honestly, I wasn’t really expecting to set a Canadian record at this competition,” said Leroux. “Last year was a bit slower for me, I missed making the national team. I took a step back and talked to my coach. We talked about what didn’t work so well, we tried to find the positive. We’ll continue to build on this momentum because we see it works and we’re really happy right now.”
The trials, which end Sunday, have attracted 627 athletes (346 female, 281 male) representing 157 clubs. That includes international competitors from 21 countries: Algeria, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Croatia, England, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Italy, Kenya, Latvia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States.
Preliminary heats begin at 9:30 a.m. each day, and finals start at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the door and are just $5 for preliminary sessions, $10 for finals. A full meet pass is available for $60, and children under 10 will be admitted free of charge.
In addition to coveted Team Canada spots at the FINA World Championships and World Para Swimming Championships, athletes will also be selected for the Pan American Games, Parapan American Games, FISU Summer Universiade and FINA World Junior Championships.
In other Olympic program results:
_ Mary-Sophie Harvey (Club Aquatique Montreal) won the women’s 200-m butterfly 2:11.71.
_ Alexander Milanovich (Etobicoke Swimming) won the men’s 50-m breaststroke in 27.84 seconds.
_ Faith Knelson (High Performance Centre – Victoria) won the women’s 50-m breaststroke in 31.02 seconds.
All of the times were over the A standard.
In other Paralympic program events:
_ Aly Van Wyck-Smart of Toronto won the women’s multi-class 200-m freestyle in 5:25.20.
_Nicholas Bennett of Qualicum Beach, B.C., was first in the men’s multi-class 200-m freestyle in 1:59.74.
_ Nikita Ens (Saskatoon Lasers Swim Club) won the women’s multi-class 50-m breaststroke in 1:49.73.
_ Abi Tripp (Kingston Y Penguins Aquatic Club) won the women’s multi-class 100-m breaststroke in 1:33.99
_ Jacob Brayshaw (Kisu Swim Club) won the men’s multi-class 50-m breaststroke in 2:11.50
Live results available here: https://results.swimming.ca/2019_Canadian_Swimming_Trials/?mc_cid=cbf95c0980&mc_eid=[UNIQID].
Webcast and full meet info here: https://www.swimming.ca/en/events-results/events/2019-canadian-swimming-trials/?mc_cid=cbf95c0980&mc_eid=[UNIQID].