Top 5 players at the Inaugular Canadian Open

Top 5 players at the Inaugular Canadian Open

The first Canadian Open is scheduled after a weekend of racing at the Pan Am Sports Center in Toronto. Some of Canadian swimming’s biggest stars were in attendance to prepare for next month’s Canadian Olympic Trials.

There were some strong swims throughout the four days and we have compiled a list ranking the top 5 swims of the meet. As always, these lists are subjective. So if you don’t know how well you won the match here, feel free to share in the comments below.

5. Alexander Axon, 400 Freestyle – 3:49.33

Which NCAA athlete has made a quick turnaround from 25 to 50 yards, whether it was in Toronto at the Canadian Open or in San Antonio at the Pro Series finale? There are many. -meter pool. Ohio State sophomore Alexander Axon was one of those swimmers. At the Men’s NCAA Championships, he swam a lifetime best (4:12.62) in the 500-yard heat, earning him a spot in the “B” final.

He has now returned to meters and continues to progress in the middle distances. Prior to this event, Axon’s lifetime best was 3:51.16 at the TYR Pro Championship in July 2023. After recording the morning’s fastest time of 3:53.91 in qualifying, Axon was poised to maintain his position in the final.

Axon came from behind to win the men’s 400m freestyle. He overtook Lorne Wigginton and won by 0.52 seconds. Axon broke his lifetime best of 3:49.33, breaking the 3:50 mark for the first time. That’s a 1.83-second difference for Axon, which puts him on the brink of hitting the Olympic “B” cut time (3:47.91) about five weeks before the Canadian Canadian Trials.

4. Maggie McNeil, 100 Back Sweat – 59.93

Summer McIntosh defeated Maggie McNeil in the 100 butterfly, giving McNeil the Olympic title. McNeil was faster this weekend (57.24 seconds) than he was at this point en route to Olympic gold, but this list focuses on McNeil’s 100 backstroke.

“It was something fun to get my meet started,” McNeil said on the first night of competition after she won the 100 backstroke. The race focused on a matchup between McNeil, McIntosh, and 2024 World Championship bronze medalist Ingrid Wilm. McNeil reached the wall first, stopping the clock at 59.93 seconds, 0.03 seconds faster than McIntosh.

McNeil doesn’t compete in his 100 backstroke on long courses all that often, but during his NCAA career he has proven his prowess with the stroke at both the SCM World Championships and yards. Her 59.93 seconds is her second fastest time of her career in this competition, and her second time under 1:00. Her personal best as of April 2021 is 59.45.

While this may have been just a fun side event at the start of the match and not a serious competition for her in what might be her final Olympic Games, it was still her strong performance for McNeil. As with other races, she had a strong “dress rehearsal” for next month’s Olympic Trials.

3. Summer McIntosh, 100 Freestyle – 53.90

There are a few options where McIntosh’s swimming is most impressive. She won four events in four days and recorded her fastest time of 2024 (1:54.21) in the 200m freestyle on her first night of competition. Aside from the 200 free race and her IM 200 race, McIntosh employed an unusual lineup in which she ran all four of her 100 races. And she believes that among these swimming events, her 100 freestyle stands out the most, at the risk of overwhelming this list of freestyle events.

McIntosh won in a star-studded final against Maggie McNeil, Mary Sophie Harvey and Penny Oleksiak. McIntosh defeated all three competitors and won with a lifetime best score of 53.90. It was McIntosh’s first time under 54 seconds. Her previous career best was 54.39 points in March 2023, and she came close in February 2024 with 54.58 points.

McIntosh at the turn she led the field with a footfall of 26.20. She came back with a score of 27.70 and won over McNeil, making her the only person in the field with a time under 54 seconds.

Breaking the 54-second barrier is just another accomplishment for the versatile 17-year-old. And like the next entry on this list, this swim supports Canada’s hopes for the Olympic relay.

2. Mary Sophie Harvey, 200m Freestyle – 1:56.76

McIntosh won the women’s 200m freestyle with an impressive time of 1:54.21, but Mary Sophie Harvey had an excellent swim that edged Julie Boursaux and She finished in second place, beating out competitors such as Julie Brousseau and Ella Jansen.

Her Harvey set her lifetime best of 1:56.76, breaking her 1:57 mark for the first time and setting a new Quebec record. The most impressive thing about her swimming was that she shared the swim. Harvey negatively divided the race. She turned around at the halfway point in 58.57 seconds and by the end of the race she was running through the field with a time of 58.19 seconds.

24-year-old Harvey is reaching new heights at just the right time, ahead of the Summer Olympics. She has competed in many races this season and has consistently lost time in this event. In late November, she set her career time of 1 minute, 57.70 seconds at the US Open. In less than six months, she had shaved 0.94 seconds off that time, first dropping to 1:57.06 in March, but she improved on that time at the event.

Her Harvey’s progress this season not only makes her a top contender for an individual Olympic berth, but also strengthens her hopes for Canada’s Olympic berth in the 4×200 freestyle relay.

1. Nicholas Bennett, 200m Freestyle – 1:54.20

On the first night of competition, Nicholas Bennett raced against the clock in the 200m freestyle. The 20-year-old made the most of the clean water and set a new Canadian Para S14 record with a time of 1:54.20.

He started the race in 26.58 seconds. He then ran the intermediate 100 meters in times of 28.94 and 29.67, beating the previous record by 0.21 seconds and finishing in 29.01. He also owned the record in 2022, when he swam 1:54.41.

“I was expecting to be close to my best time but not beating it,” Bennett told CBC after the race. “It’s been two years since I’ve posted a best time in this [event] so I’m still process it. That was unrested and untapered so we’ll see what we can do next month at the Trials when I’m a little bit more prepped.”

This season’s record is a strong sign for Bennett, who is on his way to a championship. First at his S14 World Championships (200m free, 200m IM) this summer he hopes to win Paralympic gold at the 2023 World Para Swimming Championships. Bennett finished sixth at the Tokyo Games and should have won the bronze medal this time around.

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