Six swimmers earn Team Canada spots at Open Water Trials
GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands – Eric Brown and Emma Finlin were crowned champions Saturday at the Canadian Open Water Swimming Trials.
Brown, representing Pointe-Claire Swim Club, won the men’s 10-km race at Governors Beach on Grand Cayman ahead of Eric Hedlin (UVic/Pacific Coast Dolphins). Meanwhile, Edmonton Keyano Swim Club’s Finlin took the women’s race, with Regina native Abby Dunford finishing second.
The top two males and females earned spots to represent Canada at this summer’s World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. Meanwhile, third-place finishers Benjamin Cote of Calgary’s Killarney Swim Club, and Etobicoke Swim Club product Bailey O’Regan, also earned trips to worlds to compete in the 5-km event.
The representatives for the Pan American Games set for Santiago, Chile, in October will be announced Monday.
Brown, who had already earned a spot on the pool team, put the hammer down on the last 700 metres or so to finish 2.5 seconds ahead of Hedlin with a time of 1:55:24.7.
“At the end I know I also have the speed so I could just come home. It kind of all went to plan,” said Brown, the 400, 800 and 1,500-m champion at the recent pool Trials. “I’m excited to see what I can do this summer. I’ll try things out and do the double with pool and open water, and just have fun with it a week apart.”
Brown finished 26th in the 10-km at last year’s worlds.
Hedlin, a two-time world medallist in the 5-km distance, set the pace early and had held the lead most of the way.
“Unfortunately I led the least important part of the race. I would rather lead into the finish, but I’ll take it, it’s good,” said Hedlin, adding that he swam alongside a stingray he spotted in the clear water.
Cote came third, 21.3 seconds off the pace and just ahead of Liam Clawson-Honeyman of the High Performance Centre – Vancouver (+22.1)
In the women’s race, Dunford and Finlin exchanged the lead most of the way, with Finlin finally pulling ahead as the last lap began. She won comfortably, with a time of 2:05:00.6
“I’m really happy about it. It’s my first 10-km so it was mostly for the experience but it’s really great to qualify for worlds in open water,” said Finlin.
The 17-year-old, who finished 28th for Canada in the 5-km at last year’s worlds, already had a spot on the pool team by winning the 1,500 at the recent Trials.
Dunford, 17, held on to finish 36.5 seconds behind, while O’Regan finished 5:49 off the pace, holding off Julia Strojnowska of Langley & Abbotsford Olympians Swim Club (+5:51.8).
“I just tried to stay with Emma for as long as I could. We did an amazing job racing each other. The last two laps I just tried to get home as fast as possible and just try to keep my spot in second place and keep my mind strong,” said Dunford, who represented Canada at last year’s worlds, finishing 38th in the 10-km. “I think I did a pretty good job at doing that so I’m really happy about the way I finished.”
Swimming Canada Distance/Open Water Coach Mark Perry will serve as Open Water Head Coach at worlds. He will be joined by Ryan Cloutson (UVic) and Martin Gingras (Pointe-Claire) as team coaches. Cynthia Pincott will be team manager.
“We’re excited for the world championships. We’ve got a fairly young team with a mix of some experience on the men’s side,” Perry said. “Eric Hedlin is a veteran with a couple of world medals under his belt and we’ll be building on the work that we did with a couple on the women’s side and with Eric Brown on the men’s side. They’ve been last year and they’ve got some experience, and then a couple of new additions with Ben Cote and Bailey getting a chance to do the 5-km. They’re pretty excited about that and it’s good to have some new members of the team.”
In the 5-km race Sunday, Finlin (1:04:26.2), Dunford (+1:00.2) and O’Regan (+1:02) repeated their 1-2-3 finish from Saturday. On the men’s side, Hedlin (59:57.6) took the 5-km comfortably ahead of UVPCS teammate Jon McKay (+17.0). Ilya Kharun, already a member of the pool team, came third 2:37.5 behind Hedlin.
“We’re thankful to the Cayman Islands organizing committee and the Cayman Islands Aquatic Sports Association to host us in such a beautiful venue,” said Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “Their professionalism, dedication and volunteerism were second to none. The hospitality was absolutely amazing. We really appreciate this partnership and we look forward to more in the future.”
For full event information, please visit: https://www.swimming.ca/en/events-results/events/2023-canadian-open-water-trials/
WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
OPEN WATER TEAM
July 2023 Fukuoka Japan
SWIMMERS OPEN WATER – NAGEURS
|NAME – NOM||CLUB – CLUB||PERSONAL COACH – ENTRAINEUR PERSONNEL|
|Brown, Eric||Pointe-Claire Swim Club||Anthony Nesty|
|Cote, Benjamin||Killarney Swim Club||Anthony Nesty|
|Hedlin, Eric||UVIC Pacific Coast Swimming||Ryan Clouston|
|Finlin, Emma||Edmonton Keyano Swim Club||Paul Birmingham|
|Dunford, Abby||Unattached Canada||Brent Arckey|
|O’Regan, Bailey||Unattached Canada||Brent Arckey|
TEAM STAFF – PERSONNEL
|TEAM LEADER – CHEF D’ÉQUIPE||John Atkinson|
|ASSISTANT TEAM LEADER – CHEF D’ÉQUIPE||Iain McDonald|
|TEAM MANAGER – GÉRANT D’ÉQUIPE||Cynthia Pincott|
|HEAD COACH – ENTRAINEUR-CHEF||Mark Perry|
|TEAM COACH 1 – ENTRAINEUR 1||Ryan Clouston|
|TEAM COACH 2 – ENTRAINEUR 2||Martin Gingras|
|massage Therapist – MASSOTHÉRAPEUTE INSCRITE||Nathan Skirrow|
|Physician – MÉDECIN||Dr. Rob Brunelle|
|TEAM MEDIA – MÉDIA||Nathan White|