EDMONTON – In the end Sydney Pickrem made the right decision.
Pickrem had the fastest qualifying time in Wednesday’s 400-metre individual medley but pulled out of the evening final for health reasons. With the pressure on to qualify for next month’s Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, Pickrem swam a solid race to win the 200-IM Friday night at the 2018 Canadian Swimming Trials.
“I wasn’t feeling well, I wasn’t feeling myself,” Pickrem, who represents Island Swimming, said about scratching earlier in the week.
“I have learned in the past when struggling not just with physical health but mental health . . . I’m not willing to jeopardize my happiness. I was happy I could come back here and get a pretty good swim.”
Pickrem won the race in two minutes, 10.66 seconds to punch her ticket to Japan.
“The time didn’t really matter to me. It is what it is,” said Pickrem, a bronze medallist in the 400 IM at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest. “I’m on the team and that’s all that matters.”
Javier Acevedo of Scarborough, Ont., won the men’s 200-m IM in 2:01.36. He already had qualified for Tokyo in the 4×200-m relay.
“I am super excited,” said Acevedo. “This is something I have been working on recently.”
In one of the evening’s most exciting races Mackenzie Padington fought off a challenge from Kennedy Goss to win the women’s 400-m freestyle in 4:11.56. Goss, of North York, Ont., who was part of the bronze medal 4×200-m relay team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, led late in the race but finished second 1.10 seconds behind.
“Kennedy is always a battle, she’s an amazing racer,” said Padington, who represents the Campbell River (B.C.) Killer Whales and won the women’s 800-m freestyle on Wednesday. “I knew it would come down to that last 100.
“We really practice on digging in that last 100. I was happy with that. It might not have been the time I wanted but I know I put in the work and I know I will go faster in a couple of weeks.”
Jeremy Bagshaw, who trains at the High Performance Centre – Victoria, won the men’s 400 free in 3:54.15. The victory helped erased the frustration of a fourth-place finish in the 200-m Wednesday.
“It’s always good to get a win and build a little bit of confidence,” said the 26-year-old from Victoria. “It was digging deep and feeling that pain. It’s only going to hurt more as I go faster. Feeling that pain is good practice for later.”
More than 400 athletes from 105 clubs are participating in the meet being held at the Kinsmen Sports Centre. Swimming Canada will select and announce its pool teams for next month’s Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo and the Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships in Cairns, Australia. The winner of each Olympic event automatically qualifies.
Besides Canadian swimmers, athletes from France, Peru, Thailand, Singapore, Scotland and the U.S. are also competing.
The Trials, which end Sunday, are being webcast by CBC sports athttp://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1274889283829.
Results and full meet information will be available at: https://www.swimming.ca/en/events-results/events/2018-canadian-swimming-trials/.
Olympic silver medallist Penny Oleksiak of Toronto won the women’s 100-m butterfly in 58.37. Maggie MacNeil of London, Ont., finished just .07 behind.
“People like Penny are great racers and it’s a privilege to race them and challenge them,” said the 18-year-old MacNeil. “My underwater is one of my strongest suits. The whole race came out pretty well.”
Josiah Binnema surprised himself by winning the men’s 100-m fly. The Edmonton native, who trains at the High Performance Centre – Vancouver overcame some morning nerves to win in 52.56 seconds.
“I’ve been eating and sleeping really well pretty much the entire time until the morning of the race, then I got in my own head,” he said, “I’m glad I can still swim really under those conditions.”
Niki Ens of Saskatoon’s Lasers Swim Club broke her own Canadian Para-swimming record in the S3 50-m backstroke twice Friday. She was timed in 1:22.24 in the morning preliminaries, shaving 1.15 seconds off her old mark. She then swam 1:20.69 in the evening final.
In other events:
- Aurelie Rivard, who trains at the High Performance Centre – Quebec, won the women’s Para-swimming multi-class 200-m IM in 2:35.37. Maxime Rousselle of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., won the men’s multi-class 200-m IM in 2:19.42.
- Tammy Cunnington of Red Deer, Alta., won the multi-class 50-m backstroke in 1:08.2 and the 150-m IM in 3:40.07.
- Danial Murphy of Bedford, N.S., won the men’s multi-class 50-m back in 55.46.