Monday, February 27, 2017

Several of Manitoba’s summer and winter Olympic prospects performed over the weekend at national and international competitions.


Rookie Kelsey Wog wins four medals at 2017 USports Championships
University of Manitoba rookie Kelsey Wog competed at her first USports Swimming Championships this weekend, racing head-to-head against many of the nation’s best female swimmers.
18-year-old Kelsey Wog won her first medal on day one of the meet in the 100m breaststroke, placing first with a personal-best time of 106.06. Day two brought Kelsey more hardware, as she won bronze in the 200m breaststroke final – the event in which she won silver at the FINA Short Course World Championships in December.

On day three, Kelsey was out-touched by Calgary’s Tianna Rissling for gold in an exciting 50m breaststroke race, finishing second by just one hundreth of a second. In her final event, the 200 IM, Kelsey finished third behind Rio Olympians Kylie Masse and Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson to pick up her fourth and final medal of an outstanding weekend.

Since her international success at the 2016 FINA World Championships (25m), Kelsey has continually been gaining attention. The young talent from Winnipeg has only just begun to scratch the surface of her potential, and is worth keeping an eye on as the Tokyo 2020 Games draw nearer.


 

Third time’s the charm for Team Ontario at 2017 Scotties

It took Ontario’s Team Homan three match-ups to defeat the Manitoban underdogs Team Englot. In a thrilling extra-end match that had Canadians on the edge of their seats, Manitoba’s Team Englot fell to Rachel Homan in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts final on Sunday night.

Team Michelle Englot received a more than a few head-turns as the team travelled to represent Manitoba in place of usual supsects – and defending Olympic champions – Team Jennifer Jones. The provincial champions showed consistently strong performances, and proved they had skill and finesse as Manitoba coasted through their round-robin games.

Team Englot finished the 2017 Scotties tournament with a 12-2 record, and defeated Rachel Homan twice before reaching the final. While Team Englot was not victorious in capturing the Canadian title, they challenged Team Homan spectacularly, won the hearts of Manitobans, and proved they might just be Canada’s best. Also from Manitoba, Winnipeg native Chelsea Carey and her Alberta rink won bronze at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

The attention in Canada’s curling world will shift to the men’s side as the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier begins on Saturday, March 4. Manitoba’s provincial champions, Team Mike McEwen, will represent the province.


 

Heather McLean wraps up 2016/17 season with new personal bests

After “average” performances on Saturday at the ISU Sprint Speed Skating World Championships, Heather McLean’s coach pushed her to do more. The 24-year-old long track speed skater from Winnipeg has been climbing up the international rankings in her two best events for quite some time, and delivered mediocre performances on the first day of the two-day World Championship event.

“I wanted to see what she was made of. It was a big victory in that sense. She showed she’s tough,” Speed Skating Canada coach Kevin Crockett told The Globe and Mail on Sunday.

On Sunday morning, Crockett told Heather he expected personal bests from her in her final races of the season. Heather cracked the top 10 in the 1000m(2) with a ninth-place finish, and narrowly missed the 500m(2) podium with a fourth-place finish. Despite the absence of medals, Heather set new personal bests in both finals.

According to Crockett, McLean has another gear to find in her racing. In training, Crockett says McLean often keeps pace with the fastest men on the team. He’s hopeful her training will translate to on-ice results in the coming season and leading into next year’s Olympic Games in PyeongChang.

Read The Globe and Mail article on Heather McLean in full here.