Vicent & Guilmette win opening races at short track speed skating national team trials

National team veterans Tania Vicent and Jonathan Guilmette, both of Montreal, won their respective 1,500-metre races Friday to open the Canadian team trials in short track speed skating.

In the men’s 1,500 final, Guilmette was in front for almost the entire race and took the gold in two minutes and 16.32 seconds. He edged Mathieu Turcotte of Sherbrooke, Que., second in 2:16.57 and Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., third in 2:16.58.

"I didn’t see much of the race," said Guilmette, a double Olympic medallist in 2002 who has two individual World Cup medals this season. "I was a bit surprised I could stay in front that long. It certainly helps the confidence and shows I’m in very good form right now."

In the women’s 1,500, Vicent was also in control for a big chunk of the race and took first spot in 2:32.41. Raphaele Lemieux of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., was second in 2:32.48 and Chantale Sévigny of Sherbrooke, third in 2:32.51.

"For me these trials are an opportunity to improve my tactics and passing manoeuvres for the upcoming World Cup races," said Vicent, a member of Canada’s Olympic bronze medal winning women’s relay teams at the 1998 and 2002 Games. "I wasn’t really focused on winning. But I skated well and made the right moves at the right time."

These are the first of two trials to determine the Canadian team for the world championships in March.

Competition continues Saturday.