Sport Shorts: Impressive Results in the Water

Historic Tournament for Women’s Water Polo: For the first time ever, Canada’s women’s water polo team reached the final of the prestigious World League Super Final (in Kirishi, Russia). There, they narrowly lost to the United States – Beijing 2008 silver medallists – by a score of 9-6. It was an extremely strong tournament for the Canadian squad, coached by Patrick Oaten. Against the best teams in the world, Canada won all five games before the final against the U.S. The team was led by Dominique Perrault (Montreal) who netted 13 goals in the tournament. In the semifinal against Spain, Tara Campbell (Baie D’Urfé, Que.) had a huge outing, scoring three critical goals to advance Canada to the final. Finishing second in the World League bodes well for the women’s team as it prepares for the World Championships in July.

Gold for Hayden: Canadian swimmers did not let star power distract them at the Santa Clara Grand Prix over the weekend. Michael Phelps won eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games but couldn’t beat Mission, B.C.’s Brent Hayden in the 100-metre freestyle final yesterday. Hayden took the race in 48.44 seconds, with Phelps at 48.87. A day earlier, Victoria’s Ryan Cochrane nearly overtook Phelps in the 400-metre freestyle. Phelps led by more than two seconds at the halfway mark, but Cochrane – who won bronze at Beijing 2008 in the gruelling 1,500-metre freestyle – closed the gap toward the end and nearly took the race. Phelps won in 3:48.05 and Cochrane was second in 3:48.40. The swimming tour comes to Montreal June 18-21 for the Canada Cup.

N.B. Hall of Famer: Stephen Gough (Fredericton), national short track speed skating coach, was honoured on June 6 with a spot in the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame. The 36-year-old lives in Montreal where he coaches 12 speed skaters – many of whom will race at the Richmond Oval at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Gough was Fredericton’s first short track speed skater to win a gold medal at the national level. He went on to a career with the national team from 1992 to 1998. An Olympian, Gough was a member of the 5,000-metre relay team that finished fourth at the 1994 Games in Lillehammer. He’s coached Canada’s top skaters since 2006.

Strutting Their Stuff: Eric Lamaze and Ian Millar, both 2008 Olympic medallists, won equestrian events at Calgary’s Spruce Meadows on June 13. Millar (Perth, Ont.) won the Reliability Grand Prix while Lamaze (Schomberg, Ont.) won the Parcours de Chasse.

Strong Arm: Dylan Armstrong (Kamloops, B.C.) is not slowing down. The shot putter who missed an Olympic bronze medal last August by just one centimetre won the Harry Jerome Track Classic on June 14 in Burnaby, B.C. In so doing, Armstrong qualified for the World Championships this August in Berlin. He will also be part of a strong talent pool at the Canadian athletics championships that run June 25 to 28 in Toronto.

Volleyballers in Mexico: All this week, Canada’s national men’s volleyball team begins the 2009 season at the Pan American Cup in Chiapas, Mexico. It will be a strong test for the Canadians, as the tournament features powerful teams including the U.S., Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Panama and Guatemala.