Calgary, AB – Calgary's Ted-Jan Bloemen and Toronto's Jordan Belchos both broke the senior Canadian record in the men's 10 000m distance, Friday, on the second day of Speed Skating Canada's Long Track Fall World Cup Selections.
Bloemen and Belchos respectively skated to times of 12:52.68 and 13:06.07, improving on the old mark of 13:07.32 held by Belchos since last year. Hamish Black of Lucknow, Ontario, finished third with a time of 13:44.70.
Bloemen, who is now the new record holder in this distance, picked up his second win of the competition after finishing first in Thursday's 5000m.
“Today was definitely a really big step for me, with this personal best that I improved by 15 seconds. This was quite a breakthrough for me,” said Ted-Jan Bloemen, who also won this event at last Fall Selections. “I wanted to do a really solid and consistent race today, and that’s exactly what I did. I wasn’t actually thinking about my final time during the race. I was just thinking about keeping it together and keeping my position, about good skating and about keeping the lap times coming. I’m really happy with my race.”
“My race was good today,” said Jordan Belchos. “As the race went on I was feeling tired, but I wanted to stay committed to skating well technically rather than try too hard to go fast.”
Heather McLean 55 hundredths of a second away from a 500m Canadian record
In the first of two 500m races slated for the weekend, Heather McLean of Winnipeg won with a time of 37 seconds and 77 hundredths on Friday, coming only 55 hundredths of a second away from the national record. She nonetheless improved her personal best, which was 38.10 up until now, by over 30 hundredths of a second.
Marsha Hudey of White City, Saskatchewan, took second place in 38.12. Edmonton's Jessica Gregg, an Olympic medalist in short track who switched to long track last year, followed in third place with a time of 38.59.
“I’m kind of surprised actually,” said Heather McLean, who finished first in national standings in that distance last season. “I knew I could break the 38-second mark. I had the confidence and I knew it was going to come, but didn’t know it would be that big of an improvement of my personal best. So, I was kind of surprised when I crossed the line and saw that. But I had a really good start in my pre-race warm up, so I just wanted to do the exact same thing in the race and have a good corner entry.”
On the men's side, Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, Quebec, beat out William Dutton (34.677) of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, by only five thousandths of second, to win the first men's 500m of the weekend in 34.672. Alexandre St-Jean, from Quebec City, was third (34.73).
Dutton came within only one hundredth of a second of his personal best, while St-Jean came within eight hundredths of his.
“It was fast enough to win, but the execution wasn’t what I hoped for,” commented Dubreuil, the bronze medalist in the 500m race at the 2015 World Single Distance Championships and the second-place holder in overall 500m standings over the 2014-2015 World Cup season. “I slightly hurt my hip flexor ten days ago and I didn’t want to risk anything. I haven’t skated a 500m since September. I was quite rusty and it didn’t help me that I false started today.”
“There are a lot of things I can work on,” added Dubreuil, who is already certain of earning a spot on the Canadian team for the Fall World Cups because he finished third in the 500m at the 2015 ISU World Single Distance Championships. “It’s a good sign when you can get a decent time even when you don't do well technically, because it means you have good legs. I know I can go faster tomorrow and at World Cups. I know I have 34.3 somewhere in me right now and hopefully, I will go faster by the time the World Cup season starts.”
“I didn’t expect to be that close to my personal best in the first race of the Fall World Cup trials. I’m pretty happy,” said William Dutton, who put an end to a short retirement period of two months this summer after Kevin Crockett was added to the long track national team's coaching staff. “I’m going to try and go faster tomorrow. I had a little issue in the last corner, but I think I can go faster. Training with Kevin has been really good. He’s taking care of us.”
Ivanie Blondin is two for two
In the women's 5000m, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa came up with her second win in as many races this weekend, which gave way to a podium identical to Thursday's 3000m race. Isabelle Weidemann, also from Ottawa, therefore finished second while Josie Spence of Kamloops, British Columbia, was third.
Blondin, who won bronze in the women's 5000m at the long track World Cup stage held last season in Seoul, South Korea, came up with a time of 7:07.73 on Friday to finish ahead of Weidemann (7:14.39) and Spence (7:16.47).
That time by Weidemann, who was the top Canadian at last season's World Junior Championships, is a new personal best.
The 57 athletes taking part in this competition, held at the same time as the Oval Invitational events, are vying for a spot on the Canadian national team that will skate at this fall's four World Cup stages, i.e. in Calgary (November 13-15), Salt Lake City, USA (November 20-22), Inzell, Germany (December 4-6) and Heerenveen, Netherlands (December 11-13).
The races at the Fall World Cup Selections will continue on Saturday, as the second 500m race and the first 1000m contest will start at 1 pm. Sunday, the 1500m races and the mass start events will be held starting at 11 am. Admission is free.
More details and the complete schedule are available on Speed Skating Canada’s website at www.speedskating.ca.