Nesbitt, Derraugh & Makowsky are Canadian champions

Nesbitt, Derraugh and Makowsky are Canadian champions at the single distances championships

Christine Nesbitt, of London, Ont., took a step up on the podium today winning gold in the 1,500 metres at the 2013 Canadian Single Distances Championships (long track). Winnipeg's Tyler Derraugh was the men's champion in the 1,000 metres and Lucas Makowsky of Regina took gold in the men's 5,000 metres. The championships continue through to Sunday at the Olympic Oval in Calgary. On Saturday, the men take on the 10,000 metres and the women's races will highlight the 1,000 and 5,000 metres.

Nesbitt, unhappy with her silver medal in the 3,000 metres yesterday, won her race today by almost two seconds. The 27-year-old stopped the clock at one minute and 56.48 seconds. From second to fourth place, there was only a 10th of a second difference. Winnipeg's Brittany Schussler, the 3,000-metre winner, took silver in a time of 1:58.47, followed by Regina's Kali Christ with the bronze medal in 1:58.51. Cindy Klassen was fourth in a time of 1:58.57. Nesbitt, Schussler and Christ repeated their 2012 medal performances in the 1,500 metres.

"I wasn't really happy with my race yesterday and how I've been skating lately. I've been struggling on my technique," said the Canadian and world champion. "I've been working really hard at it, but it's almost been not letting things come naturally. I was still really upset in the morning (from Thursday's race) and how I was going to approach the (1,500) race, and if there was anything I could actually change.

"I usually just go out as hard as I can in the 1,500 and skate smooth, but I just haven't had that kind ability lately to turn my top speed into smooth skating lately," added Nesbitt, who skated in the last pair with Christ. "So I eased up at the start, didn't go quite as hard and tried to settle into the race sooner than I would normally and relax. The start wasn't fast for me, the first 700 metres, but because I was really smooth I was able to have two good laps at the end. Which really did surprised me. I'm actually happy to come away with something positive."

Derraugh, recording his second personal career best in the 1,000 metres this season, took first place in a time of one minute and 8.69 seconds. "The race felt pretty good today. It was a fight at the end, chasing down Laurent (Dubreuil) who's a quick sprinter off the beginning but I had the finish I wanted", said Derraugh, who placed 10th in 2012.

"The fall was a build right through the World Cups, finishing off in fourth place (in Japan on Dec. 8)," added the 26-year old. "That was a huge improvement for me this year." The Winnipeg native was second in the 1,000 metres at the Fall World Cup Trials in November, earning himself a spot for the first four World Cups of the season.

Skating in the same pair as Derraugh, Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, Que., won the silver in a time of 1:08.96, just 0.27 seconds away from a gold medal. Defending champion Jamie Gregg of Edmonton was the bronze medallist, crossing the finishing line in 1:09.29.

In the men's 5,000 metres, Makowsky reclaimed his Canadian title in the 5,000 winning in a time of six minutes and 29.92 seconds. He took gold three consecutive years from 2009 to 2011. Defending champion, Jordan Belchos of Toronto, claimed the silver medal in 6:31.41, and Mathieu Giroux, of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., was the bronze medallist in 6:32.46.

"I think mostly my rhythm on the ice today. It's something that I really want to focus on, not overthink the race too much at all," said Makowsky, who was third in 2012. "Come out with a calm and cool mentality, and really keep my feet moving so I didn't get too complacent out there and I'd be able to really work at the end of the race."

On the last day of competition, Sunday, the men and women will compete in two 500-metre races and mass start.