The third day of competition at the 2018 Canadian Swimming Championships in Montreal continued to impress, with some phenomenal performances from established veterans as well as rookies to National Championships.
Sydney Pickrem (ISC) continued to put up world-class performance as she kicked off the night with a win in the women's 200IM with a time of 2:11.31, which may earn her another "swim of the night" award from Swimming Canada. Bailey Herbert (LOSC) challenged for a medal in this race to go with the one she picked up last night in the 400IM, but was just out-touched at the finish with a time of 2:16.96. But Bailey was probably not overly disappointed with that result as her time was under the standard to be considered for selection to Canada's Junior PanPacs team this year. And given that she was the second-fastest Junior-aged swimmer in the race, it gives her a strong chance to be selected.
And Axana Merckx (KWIC) continued her exceptional meet with another "A" final, as she finished ninth in that race, but having posted a time earlier in the day that gets her in the conversation for selection to at least two SwimBC Provincial Team opportunities.
Ingrid Wilm (UBCSC) took home a silver in the women's 50 Backstroke while Haley Klenk (SPART), at her first-ever National Championships, finished eighth and went under 30seconds for the first time in 29.96.
Coming off her win the 100 Back last night, Danielle Hanus (ISC) continued to display great form at this meet. Her 100 Fly time of 59.74 took her under a minute for the first time ever - almost two seconds better than her previous lifetime best - and earned her a silver medal.
The women's 400 Free had Molly Gowans (ISC) also show off a great return to form with her first-ever National Championship. She won in 4:11.55, defeating 2017 Trials winner and World Championships team member, Mackenzie Padington (CRKW) who finished third. Gowans teammate and training partner, Kyla Ross, also a relative newcomer to National Championships, posted a strong sixth in 4:19.67, while Octavia Lau (HYACK) finished seventh.
Raben Dommann (CHENA), in his first National Championships final, was the top BC finisher in the men's 400 Free, touching the wall in 3:59.58, breaking the 4:00 mark for the first time, but just outside the Junior Pan Pacs selection standard of 3:58.07. Josh Zakala (ISC) was seventh in 4:03.02, while Martin Dimitrov (HYACK) and Ryley McRae (KCS) finished eighth and ninth, respectively.
And just as a personal aside: I grew up in Humboldt, SK, and to say that the Broncos were a part of the community is an almost comical understatement. Hockey is big in Canada, for sure, but it's almost the lifeblood of small-town Saskatchewan. The Broncos' home arena seats roughly one-third of the town's population. A good part of the team is made up of kids from other cities and towns and they get billeted with host families for the year. So even though they're not "local" boys, they're in your high-school classes (because the town only has one high school); they work at the local sporting goods shop; pretty much everyone in town knows who they are.
I haven't been back there in almost 30 years, and I feel just absolutely devastated for the everyone there; and in a job where I work with and get to know so many wonderful young adults of that same age, I can't imagine the level of pain and sorrow that the town as a whole is feeling, let alone those who had someone close to them on that bus.
Maple Leafs Head Coach, Mike Babcock, who grew up in Saskatoon - just 100km from Humboldt, expresses the pain and loss...not with words.
The most heartfelt thoughts, prayers, and sincerest condolences to the team and the whole community, and of course, most importantly, to the families of, and anyone close to, any of the players and staff lost or injured who have forever had their lives changed.