A strong Canadian contingent dominated the action on Friday on the first night of USA Swimming’s Missouri Grand Prix.
Prepping for the Canadian Olympic trials that start on March 27 in Montreal, swimmers from north of the border set the tone with a one-two-three finish in the first final of the night, the women’s 200m freestyle.
Samantha Cheverton clocked 1 minute, 58.46 seconds to win ahead of compatriots Julia Wilkinson and Barbara Jardin.
Canadian Sinead Russell won the consolation final, holding off France’s former world and Olympic champion swimmer Laure Manaudou, who has mounted a comeback pointed at the London Games.
Canada’s Blake Worsley won the men’s 200m free title in 1:49.08, just edging South Africa’s Darian Townsend, who settled for second in 1:49.09. Canada’s Ryan Cochrane was third in 1:50.13.
Jillian Tyler nabbed another victory for Canada in the women’s 100m breaststroke in 1:09.05, before Brazil’s Felipe Lima broke the streak of Canadian victors with a win in 1:00.89 in the men’s 100m breaststroke.
Lima moved into third in the world rankings early in the Olympic season.
Katerine Savard gave Canada another victory in the women’s 100m butterfly, clocking 58.23 to beat Americans Elaine Breeden and Christine Magnusson.
“It’s a good time for this point in the season,” Savard said. “The highlight for me was having a strong second length. Endurance has been a big part of my focus in training.”
With many of the US’ top swimmers — including 14-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps — sitting out this leg of the Grand Prix series, Tyler McGill was the only US winner of the night.
He won the men’s 100m butterfly in 52.58, with France’s Frederick Bousquet — who trains with McGill at Auburn — second in 53.54 and Brazilian Olympian Thiago Pereira third in 53.66.
McGill’s time put him third in the world this year behind Francois Heersbrandt (52.29) and Phelps (52.41).
“Fortunately for me, I train with a lot of guys [like Bousquet] at Auburn who are faster than me in certain areas, so it pushes me to train faster and develop my speed so I can compete with the top-level guys in the world,” McGill said.
The 400m individual medleys produced two last individual golds for Canada. Alexa Komarnycky won the women’s 400m individual medley in 4:41.66 and Alec Page won the men’s 400m medley in 4:20.80. Both moved into the top 10 in the world rankings.
“I’m pretty happy it was my best time while in training,” Page said. “It’s a really important result in my preparation for the trials.”