Cowansville's Francis among those off to swim in London
Published Thursday, March 29, 2012 11:43AM EDT
MONTREAL - Cowansville and other small towns in Quebec are best known for producing athletes that perform on water of the solid variety.
But Wednesday night Charles Francis found glory in very wet, chlorinated water, splashing his way to the 100 metre backstroke title and qualifying for the London Olympics at the Montreal qualifying races.
"It's my home pool, my crowd, my friend and my family were there. They carry me through the race and it was really really fun," said Francis.
The night saw many such high-profile moments of joy as several swimmers made their impending visit to the Olympics official, while others quality saw their London 2012 dreams disappear.
In the night's biggest surprise David Sharpe beat Canadian record-holder Stefan Hirniak in the 200 metre butterfly.
"I could feel like I had something in the tank and it was just barely enough," said Sharpe.
The women's 100 metre backstroke offered no such surprise. Sinead Russell and a very elated Julia Wilkinson will represent Canada at the summer games.
But Russell confessed that she had to concentrate to get over the pressure.
"It was nerve racking. Before going into the race, in warm up, my mind kept drifting. Going into a race, it's probably not the best way to do it. But I'm happy I made the team and now i can concentrate on my other races," said Russell.
The women's 400 metre individual medley closed the evening schedule and saw Stephanie Horner lead a Vancouver tandem - essentially securing herself a berth on Canada's Olympic team.
"I am so excited. Beijing, I loved going but London is a city that has always intrigued me. It's just very classy and royal," she said.
The racing continues Thursday with another four disciplines including the men's 400 freestyle featuring Ryan Cochrane.