A trio of Victoria teens hit the podium at the 2018 Canadian Track Championships held April 13 to 15 at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, Ont.
Claremont secondary student Riley Pickrell earned six junior titles. The 16-year-old Pickrell, of Cordova Bay, won gold while setting a Canadian record in the junior men’s team sprint with Tyler Davies and Ethan Ogrodniczuk, and won gold in the individual sprint, the keirin, the elimination race, the ‘kilo’ (one-kilometre) time trial, the junior men’s madison (with Ogrodniczuk) and silver in the junior men’s pursuit final.
It’s Pickrell’s first year competing as a U19 junior. He was well decorated as a national champion at the U17 level.
“I came into the weekend expecting to do well, and I think I achieved what I came to do,” Pickrell said. “I was moving up a category [to junior], so I thought the competition would be as hard as it was. I’m super excited about the Canadian record [in the Team Sprint]. My teammates and I have been working hard all winter for it, nailing the exchanges, and it all came together.”
Local Victoria cyclist and Oak Bay High student Sarah van Dam was also impressive with several podiums of her own, a dominant debut at the junior women’s level.
Van Dam won gold in the junior women’s sprint, gold in the 2km pursuit, gold in the keirin, gold in the 7.5km scratch race, silver in the points race and bronze in the junior women’s team pursuit.
Van Dam partnered with Casey Garrison of Reynolds secondary to win gold in the junior madison, silver in the team sprint and the two won bronze in the team pursuit with Elizabeth Gin and Bronwen Campbell.
With these results, both van Dam and Pickrell have hit the required standards to compete at the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships.
— Canada's Cycling Mag (@pedalmagazine) April 15, 2018
“It’s pretty unreal,” van Dam said. “I came into this competition thinking that there were so many good riders here, so I was just taking it race by race. I just worked on good positioning for every race and it turned out well. I knew I came here near the top, but I didn’t know I was going to be at the very top; there’s so many strong riders here.”
Saanich swimmers on top at Western Swimming championships
The same weekend, April 13 to 15, Saanich Commonwealth Place hosted the 2018 Speedo Western Nationals swimming competition with plenty of locals hitting the podium.
Saanich’s Molly Gowans, 18, a former national silver medalist in the 400m and 1,500m women’s freestyle, was back in the mix over the weekend with two medals. Gowans was first in the 16-and-over 100m freestyle and first in the 200m freestyle. Gowans was also second in the 800m free.
‘’I haven’t gone that fast in a long time,’’ said Gowans. ‘’I just went in to have a good race and I wasn’t really expecting that time. I was happy when I saw it.’’
National champion Danielle Hanus of Victoria was first in the 100m backstroke and second in the women’s 100m free and Eric Hedlin of the UVic Vikes took gold in the 1500m freestyle.
Victoria’s Josh Zakala won three gold medals with victories in the 200m IM, the 800m freestyle, and 400m individual medley.
Among other locals winning were Sophie Lorette, first in the 1500m freestyle, Keir Ogilvie, first in the 200m butterfly and Michael Schmidt first in the 200m breaststroke.
‘’It’s great to put down strong races in that event two weeks in a row,’’ said Zakala. ‘’I was especially pleased with my backstroke split tonight which had been a bit flat lately in that race.’’
Victoria’s Island Swimming finished third in the team standings.