Sport Shorts: Swimmers Make Waves, Smash Records in Montreal

At the Canadian national swimming championships, many of the country’s finest aquatic talents put on tremendous displays. In so doing, Swim Canada will have a strong team to put forth against the world’s best at the 2009 World Championships that run July 19 to Aug. 2 in Rome.

The biggest piece of news is undeniably courtesy of 15-year-old Amanda Reason. Reason broke the world record in women’s 50-metre breaststroke, Canada’s first long course world mark in 21 years. Her mark of 30.23 seconds bested the old record of 30.31. The native of Etobicoke, Ont. immediately made front page news across Canada.

Edmonton’s Annamay Pierse proved that she is a contender in any breaststroke race. Pierse very nearly set two world records in Montreal. She set new Canadian records in both the 100-metre and 200-metre breaststroke, missing the world mark by just 0.65 seconds and 0.49 seconds, respectively. In both cases, the Canadian record she smashed was her own.

Two new national records were set in the men’s and women’s 50-metre freestyle races. Vancouver’s Brent Hayden broke his own mark to finish in 21.94 seconds (the first Canadian to crack the 22-second barrier) while Victoria Poon delighted her hometown fans in lowering her Canadian record to 25.12 seconds.

Calgary’s Pascal Wollach made a splash by breaking a 100-metre backstroke record set by none other than legendary swimmer Mark Tewksbury. At the 1992 Olympic Games, Tewksbury clocked 53.98 seconds. A few days ago, Wollach touched the wall in 53.63 seconds. Wollach didn’t slow down and proceeded to set a new national mark in the 50-metre backstroke, with 25.37 seconds.

Scott Dickens of Vancouver was a force in men’s breaststroke. He won the 50-, 100- and 200-metre breaststroke events. In the first two, he set new Canadian records. Heather MacLean (Etobicoke, Ont.) lowered the Canadian 200-metre freestyle record to 1:57.20 from 1:58.00. Saskatoon’s Kendra Chernoff set a new Canadian record for the 100-metre butterfly with 58.70 seconds. Vancouver’s Matt Hawes set a new Canadian 200-metre backstroke record, with 1:57.34.

The Canadian team for the World Championships is set now with 32 swimmers. In Montreal, 13 new Canadian records were established.