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VICTORIA – In a race deep in talent Summer McIntosh overtook Olympic medallist Penny Oleksiak at the second turn then pulled away from the field to win the women’s 200-metre freestyle at the Bell Canadian Swimming Trials Thursday night.
McIntosh won in one minute, 55.39 seconds, to qualify for her second event at this summer’s FINA World Championships. Her High Performance Centre – Ontario teammate Oleksiak, who took the bronze medal in the event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, was second in 1:57.01.
Taylor Ruck was third in 1:57.60 and Kayla Sanchez, who also trains at the HPC – Ontario, was fourth in 1:57.61. The top four swimmers qualify for the 4×200-metre relay.
McIntosh, 15, wasn’t intimidated swimming against the veteran Oleksiak, Canada’s most decorated Olympian.
“I try not to focus on who it is that I am racing with or who I am trying to beat,” said the Toronto native, who swam a personal best time. “It’s more who is beside me. I’m just trying to get my hand on the wall first.
“It is kind of a surreal thing to race people I have looked up to. It’s just a great opportunity I get to have.”
Oleksiak was satisfied with her race.
“I was going to try to be a hero, then I decided in the last 75 (metres) I just needed to touch second,” said the Toronto native. “I was trying to look past Summer and see where those girls were. I’m just glad I have my spot for this summer.”
The evening saw two newcomers earn a spot on the FINA World Championships team.
Sophie Angus won the women’s 100-m breaststroke in a personal best 1:07.60. Patrick Hussey of Pointe-Claire Swim Club finished fourth in the 200-m freestyle in a personal best 1:50.67 and earned a spot on the 4×200-m relay team.
Angus exceeded her expectations.
“I was shocked,” she said. “I just wanted to see what I could throw down and I’m really happy with that swim.”
Ruslan Gaziev won the men’s 200-m freestyle in a personal best 1:47.44. Finlay Knox of Okotoks, Alta., who trains at the HPC – Ontario, was second in a personal best 1:47.92, followed by Jeremy Bagshaw of Island Swimming in 1:49.25 and Hussey in 1:50.67.
Gaziev said he was more focused on winning the race than the time he posted.
“I find I overthink about the time,” said the Toronto native. “I’d rather think about the race strategy. I find when I race instinctively rather than overthinking it comes together and I have better races that way.”
Hussey trailed early in the race but made up time.
“I trusted my training,” he said. “I know I can come back hard in most of my races, so I stayed pretty calm after the first 100.
“I was super excited. I came in wanting to make a team so I’m really excited I did it.”
In the men’s 100 breast, James Dergousoff of Université Laval was the winner in 1:01.30, over the qualifying standard but putting him in consideration for the medley relays under Priority 4 of the Selection Criteria.
Kylie Masse, the Olympic silver medalist in backstroke, showed her versatility by winning the 50-m butterfly in 26.96 seconds.
“It’s super fun to switch things up, it can be frustrating doing the same stroke over and over again,” said the LaSalle, Ont., native who trains at the HPC – Ontario. “It’s nice to do something different and change up the stimulus.”
Alexandre Perrault of the Ottawa Swim Club won the men’s 50-m butterfly in 24.35.
Aurélie Rivard of Club de Natation Region de Québec won the women’s 100-m freestyle multi-class Para event with a time of 1:00.72, easily making the S10 qualifying standard for worlds. Shelby Newkirk of Saskatoon Lasers was second at 1:15.54, posting her second Canadian record of the day to make the S6 standard.
For Rivard, the world record holder and Paralympic champion, it was her first race of the trials.
“There was a lot of things I was testing out tonight,” she said. “It gives me an idea of where I’m at and what I need to work on for worlds.
“I wanted for the ice to be broken. I wanted to know how I feel. I saw I’m able to improve from the morning into the evening.”
In the final event of the night, Philippe Vachon earned himself a S8 qualifying standard with a 1:01.88 to take the multi-class men’s 100-m free. Felix Cowan of Club de Natation Samak finished second in 1:02.24 to pick up a S8 qualifying standard, and Matthew Cabraja of COBRA was third in 1:03.78 to squeak under the S11 time. Alec Elliot’s 56.22 was good for fourth and an S10 standard for the CNQ swimmer. (Multi-class races are decided by the Para Swimming Point Calculator.)
In the Para swimming multi-class 50-m butterfly, Danielle Dorris, a Moncton, N.B., native who trains at the High Performance Centre – Quebec, swam the fastest time of 33.64 seconds. Tess Routliffe of Caledon, Ont., who also trains at the HPC – Quebec, was second in 36.55 while Montreal’s Myriam Soliman, who swims with the C. N. Mustang Boucherville, was third in 42.05. All swam under the S7 qualifying time of 48.26 for the World Para Swimming Championships.
“I’m a lot happier with that swim than I was this morning,” said Dorris. “It’s right under where I want to be.”
Jessica Tinney, who trains with Kingston Y Penguins, was clocked in 1:11.71, under the qualifying time of 1:36.38 for S5 swimmers.
The trials, being held through Sunday at Saanich Commonwealth Place, have 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 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.

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