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VICTORIA – Nicholas Bennett set his fourth Canadian Para swimming record and three other swimmers qualified for their first FINA World Championships at the Bell Canadian Swimming Trials Saturday night.
 
Bennett, the Parksville, B.C., native who now trains at the High Performance Centre – Quebec,  set a S14 record of two minutes, 10.22 seconds swimming in the multi-class 200-metre individual medley. Earning spots on their first world championship teams were Collyn Gagne, who won the grueling men’s 400-m IM; Richie Stokes, winner of the 200-m backstroke and Tess Cieplucha, who was second in the women’s 400-IM.
 
Bennett had previously set records in the S14 200-m freestyle, the 100-m breaststroke and the 100-m butterfly.
 
“I feel like my training has paid off at this point,” said Bennett. “Swimming in my first national meet in over three years, it feels great to have this under my belt.”
 
Stokes, who trains with the University of Calgary Swim Club, surprised himself by winning the men’s 200-m backstroke in a personal best 1:58.79.
 
“That was a little unexpected,” said the 21-year-old Toronto native. “I knew I had it (in me) but there was lots of nerves and lots of worries about whether or not I could do it.
 
“I have wanted this since I was 10 years old. It’s ridiculous. I’m probably going to go home and cry I’m so happy. It’s everything to me.”
 
Gagne managed some compensation for missing last year’s Olympic team by winning the men’s 400 IM in a personal best 4:17.82 and qualifying for a trip to the world championships.
 
“It’s sweet because of the pain of last year,” said Gagne, who trains with Simon Fraser University. “I went out a little faster than I normally do. There comes a cost with that. That last 50 I was falling apart and saw the other guys catching, In the end I was able to hold on.”
 
Summer McIntosh cruised to victory in the women’s 400 IM in a time of 4:34.86. Cieplucha was second in 4:39.49, which also was under the world championship qualifying time. Ella Jansen of Etobicoke Swimming was third in 4:41.43.
 
McIntosh wasn’t happy with her winning time. The 15-year-old swam a Canadian record of 4:29.12 earlier this year, the fastest women’s 400-IM swim this year.
 
“I’m not that happy with the race,” said McIntosh, 15, who trains at the High Performance Centre – Ontario. “I thought I could have been a little bit faster. There are always things to learn in every race.”
 
It’s been a busy week for McIntosh, who broke her own Canadian record in winning the 400-m freestyle and swam a personal best time in the 200 freestyle.
 
“I thought it was a pretty good week for me,” she said. “There’s room for improvement in every race I have done. I’m still pretty happy. I had some solid races.”
 
In the women’s 200-m backstroke, Olympic silver medallist Kylie Masse fought off an early challenge from Taylor Ruck to win the race in 2:07.66. Ruck was second in 2:09.63. Both were under the world championship qualifying time. Ingrid Wilm, of the Calgary Cascade Swim Club, was third in 2:11.61.
 
Masse, who trains at the High Performance Centre – Ontario, said her time leaves her plenty of room for improvement.
 
“It’s not where I want to be but it’s where I am right now,” said the LaSalle, Ont., native who also won the 100 m and 50-m backstroke this week. “I will learn from this race and use it this summer.
 
“It’s been a long week. It’s nice to finally be at a meet again with more swimmers.
 
The trials, which end Sunday night at Saanich Commonwealth Place, attracted 552 swimmers from 131 clubs across the country. The competition will select the Swimming Canada teams competing at the FINA World Championships in June in Budapest, Hungary; the Commonwealth Games in July in Birmingham, England; and the World Para Swimming Championships scheduled for June in Madeira, Portugal.
 
All sessions will be streamed live on CBC Sports, with commentary for the finals from former national team swimmers Jasen Pratt and Sarah Mailhot. Live streams can be watched with the free CBC Gem streaming service, at cbcsports.ca as well as through the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices.
 
Also selected will be squads heading to the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Hawaii and the FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships in Seychelles.
 
For more information visit: https://www.swimming.ca/en/events-results/events/2022-canadian-swimming-trials/

Nathan White
Senior Manager, Communications, Swimming Canada
Gestionnaire supérieur des communications, Natation Canada
t. +1 613-260-1348 x2002 | m. +1 613-866-7946 | nwhite@swimming.ca