Olympic Finalist Rachel Nicol Bouncing Back from Tough Season at 2019 Canadian Swimming Championships
Swimming Canada – WINNIPEG – Rachel Nicol of Lethbridge, Alta., a member of the 2016 Olympic team, earned her second victory on Sunday at the 2019 Canadian Swimming Championships placing first in the women’s 100-m breaststroke.
Nicol, the 50 breaststroke winner on Friday, clocked one minute and 08.37 seconds for the win. World championship finalist Kelsey Wog of Winnipeg was second in 1:09.50 and Safia Carnevale of Etobicoke, Ont., third in 1:09.62.
“I was really hoping to get into the 1:07’s so it’s a disappointing time,” said Nicol, 26, fifth in the 100-m breaststroke at the Rio Games. “It’s been a rough couple of years and I’m just trying to bounce back. But I’m feeling good. I’ve moved back to Lethbridge and I’m feeling good about that decision. We have things to work on and we know how to move forward.”
Other winners in women’s competition were Brooklyn Douthwright of Moncton, N.B., in the 100-m freestyle in 56.12, Mabel Zavaros of Oakville, Ont., in the 200-m butterfly in 2:13.14 and Katrina Bellio of Etobicoke, Ont., in the 1500-m freestyle in 16:43.66.
On the men’s side, the winners were Ruslan Gaziev of Winnipeg in the 100 free in 49.75, Ray Yang of Etobicoke in the 200 fly in 2:01.05, Brendan Fitzpatrick of Victoria in the 100 breast in 1:02.54 and open water world championship bronze medallist Eric Hedlin of Victoria in the 800-m freestyle in 8:08.84.
“It was a little slower than this morning,” said Gaziev with his second victory this week after his 200 freestyle win on Friday. “I’ve been swimming for two weeks now and honestly at this point the wear and tear really showed.”
Para-swimmer Roxon gains confidence
In para-swimming, Paralympic Games champion Katarina Roxon of Kippens, N.L., took the women’s multi-class 100-m breaststroke in 1:25.98 while multiple Paralympic and world champion Aurélie Rivard of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., took the 100 free in 1:00.07.
“I’ve struggled a lot the last three years, so this is a big improvement,” said Roxon, 26, a three-time Paralympian. “I’m making sure the little things count. I’m enjoying training a lot more now and Tokyo is a year out and I’m getting pretty pumped for it.”
Nicholas Bennett of Parksville, B.C. collected his fourth victory this week placing first in the 100 breast in 1:10.77 and Zach Zona of Waterford, Ont., won the 100 free in 1:04.51.
“I have been particularly impressed with the level of professionalism and preparation that swimmers and coaches have displayed this week,” said Wayne Lomas, Associate Director of High Performance and Para Swimming National Coach for Swimming Canada. “I know that this professionalism will hold our swimmers in good stead when they race in London and Lima. People are showing that they know what they need to do when it matters.”
There were over 60 para-swimmers at the meet this week. Eighteen are headed to the IPC World Championships September 9-15 in London and 13 to the Parapan American Games August 23 to September 1 in Lima, Peru. As of Saturday, para-swimmers had lowered 18 Canadian records.
First team crown for Neptune
Neptune Natation form Montreal-St-Jerome won the overall club title for the first time at nationals with 1,047 points. Pointe-Claire Swim Club was second at 907 and Edmonton Keyano third at 687.
Neptune Natation also topped the women’s standings ahead of the Oakville Aquatic Club and Pointe-Claire.
Universite Laval in Quebec City was first in the men’s standings edging Victoria’s Pacific Coast Swimming by nine points. Pointe-Claire was third.
Bellio, a triple gold medallist this week, won the women’s high point award while Cole Pratt of Calgary did the same on the men’s side thanks to three victories. Bennett and Shelby Newkirk of Saskatoon won the Para high point awards.
The swims of the meet were by Bennett, triple champion Jade Hannah of Victoria and Eli Wall of Toronto, the 100 and 200 breaststroke champ, this week.