Charles Hamelin & Alanna Kraus break Canadian records & win overall titles at short track trials

Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., and Alanna Kraus of Abbotsford, B.C., shifted into high gear Sunday with Canadian record performances at the national team trials in short track speed skating.

In the men’s 1,000 metres, Hamelin broke his Canadian record initially in the semifinal clocking 1:24.693 then beat it again with a 1:24.432 in the final. Jonathan Guilmette of Montreal was second in 1:24.488 and Mathieu Turcotte of Sherbrooke, Que., third in 1:24.581.

"The ice was very fast here and it was clear to me after the quarterfinals that this event was going to be won by the fastest skater," said Hamelin, 20, who also broke the Canadian mark in the 500 on Saturday. "In the final I changed my strategy a bit by staying behind in the first couple of laps before moving up front. I wasn’t sure if I would have had enough in the tank to skate all out from start to finish."

In the women’s 1,000, Kraus won the final in 1:31.130 to eclipse the previous Canadian mark of 1:31.446 set by Marie-Eve Drolet of Chicoutimi, Que., in 2002. Amanda Overland of Cambridge, Ont., was second in 1:31.293 and Annik Plamondon of Montreal third in 1:31.402.

"In short track you don’t think about records so it’s usually a bonus," said Kraus, who fell in the quaterfinals and semifinals but advanced because she was interfered with. "The 1,000 has always been tough for me because of positioning. But today from the start of the race I set a fast pace and took the lead right away."

In the 3,000, Guilmette and Overland won the men’s and women’s races respectively.

The top five overall based on the 500, 1,000 and 1,500 metres this weekend earn a spot on Canada’s team for the World Cup events next weekend at Madison, Wisconsin and the following weekend at Saguenay, Que.

They are in order for the men: Hamelin, Turcotte, Francois-Louis Tremblay of Boucherville, Que., Steve Robillard of Montreal and Guilmette. For the women: Kraus, Overland, Kalyna Roberge of Montreal, Chantale Sévigny of Sherbrooke and Mélanie Gagnon of Montreal.