Liendo, Acevedo set national records on Day 2 of Bell Canadian Swimming Trials
TORONTO – Josh Liendo lowered his own men’s 100-m butterfly national record not once, but twice on Day 2 of the 2023 Bell Canadian Swimming Trials.
The 20-year-old from Markham, Ont., clocked 50.78 in the morning heats before posting a 50.36 in Wednesday night’s final at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.
Liendo, who captured bronze in the event at the 2022 worlds in Budapest, qualified for this summer’s World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan (July 14-30).
The Tokyo Olympian had set the previous Canadian standard of 50.88 at last year’s Trials in Victoria, and is now the fifth-fastest performer in history.
“I did not expect that time in prelims. I mean, prelims was more about me focusing on my technique,” Liendo said. “Tonight was about getting fast, about me just going out fast so that’s what I did. Hurt a little on the way in, on the way back, but that’s swimming.
“Yeah that’s what I going for,” he added when asked if he expected to break his record again the final. “I knew how the morning felt. Tonight was about go in and get after it. So yeah I was expecting to go faster.”
Also going under the World Aquatics qualifying time in the men’s 100 fly was 18-year-old Ilya Kharun of Montreal, who will make his senior long-course debut in Fukuoka thanks to a personal best of 51.45.
Canada will also have two representatives in the women’s 100 fly in Japan as Maggie Mac Neil of London, Ont., the Olympic champion in the event, and Katerine Savard, a three-time Olympian from Pont-Rouge, Que., qualified in 56.54 and 57.81.
“Just coming in here and getting the job done, but also having fun and trying to get on that team and hopefully pull someone along too,” said Mac Neil about her mindset going into her first final of the week. “It’s great for Katerine. She’s done it for so long. I definitely still look up to her, she’s incredible.”
Liendo and Mac Neil’s winning times are the fastest in the world this year in the 100 fly.
Javier Acevedo of the High Performance Centre – Ontario also rewrote the Canadian record book on Day 2, lowering his own men’s 50 backstroke mark to 24.90. The Torontonian had clocked a bronze-medal time of 24.97 at last summer’s Commonwealth Games.
“It feels good. It’s great,” said the two-time Olympian, who had qualified for the worlds team on Tuesday thanks to his win in the 100 back. “Now, just take it day by day. I got a day off tomorrow and then the 100 free. This sets me up for the rest of the week and the next couple of months.”
In the women’s 50 back, Kylie Masse of LaSalle, Ont., touched the wall in 27.41, just ahead of Calgary’s Ingrid Wilm, who clocked 27.59.
The backstroke rivals had qualified for worlds on Tuesday when Wilm upset her teammate on 100 metres.
“I just wanted to come in and have a good race,” said Masse, the reigning world and Commonwealth Games champion in the 50 back. “Yesterday clearly wasn’t my best and that’s just all I had yesterday, and I have to take what I can from that and move forward.
“Ingrid’s an incredible swimmer, and it’s been great to watch her improve over the last number of years. I’m really happy for her.”
Other Wednesday winners on the Olympic side were 17-year-old Emma Finlin of Edmonton in the women’s 1500 freestyle and Eric Brown of Pointe-Claire, Que., in the men’s 800 free, who will both make their world championships pool debut in Fukuoka after competing in open water last summer in Budapest.
Finlin, an Edmonton Keyano Swim Club product, shaved off over 10 seconds from her previous personal best to prevail in 16:20.61.
“I felt really good,” she said. “I’m really excited to make my first pool team. I’m excited to be a national swimmer in the pool rather than just open water.”
Brown, who trains at Pointe-Claire Swim Club, also set a new PB of 7:56.96.
“It felt hard but rewarding nonetheless,” said Brown, whose winning time in the 400 free on Day 1 did not meet the qualifying standard. “First time getting under any pool criteria, so I’m super happy with that.”
In Para swimming, veteran Aurélie Rivard, an S10 athlete who trains with the Club de Natation Région de Québec, made the qualifying standard for this summer’s worlds (July 31-Aug. 6 in Manchester, England) by winning the women’s 400 free multiclass in 4:38.08.
It was the first time Rivard had raced the event since winning gold at the Tokyo Paralympics.
“I’ve only been back to full-time training since January, so I didn’t really have a specific goal in mind,” said Rivard, who set the world record of 4:24.08 in Tokyo. “I wanted to go a better time than the morning and focus on the technical aspects of my race.
“I’m just happy to see where I’m at and I think I can perform even better in August.”
Nick Bennett of Parksville, B.C., won the men’s 200 free multiclass in 1:56.38, putting him under the S14 standard to qualify for the worlds.
“I think it went as well as it could,” said Bennett. “I’m just trying to race myself so it’s all mental, especially the last 100.”
Multiclass winners who did not reach the qualifying standard include S8 swimmer Philippe Vachon of Blainville, Que., who took the men’s 400 free in 4:41.74, Nikita Ens, an S3 swimmer from the Saskatoon Lasers, who claimed the women’s 50 back in 1:10.02, as well as Angela Marina, an S14 swimmer from the Brantford Aquatic Club, who prevailed in the women’s 200 free in 2:16.05.
The six-day Bell Canadian Swimming Trials run through Sunday at TPASC with preliminary heats at 9:30 a.m. each day and finals sessions set for 6 p.m.
A total of 623 athletes from 148 clubs across the country are in action competing for spots on this summer’s national teams. Teams will be selected for:
• World Aquatics Championships July 14-30 in Fukuoka, Japan
• World Para Swimming Championships July 31-Aug. 6 in Manchester, England
• World Junior Swimming Championships Sept. 4-9 in Netanya, Israel
• Pan American Games Oct. 23-Nov. 5 in Santiago, Chile
All sessions are being streamed live on CBC Sports digital platforms. Live streams can be watched via the free CBC Gem streaming service, at cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices.
For full meet information, including live results, visit: https://www.swimming.ca/en/events-results/events/2023-bell-canadian-swimming-trials/
Tickets are still available as both general admission and reserved seats at: https://www.ticketmaster.ca/swimming-canada-natation-canada-tickets/artist/2708444
NOTE: The World Aquatics Championships team will be named on Sunday evening… The World Junior Swimming Championships and Pan American Games teams will be named next week… The World Para Swimming Championships team will be named at a later date…
Crédit photos : Gracieuseté de Natation Canada/Nom du photographe