Arne Dankers breaks Canadian record at long track speed skating World Cup team trials.

The fast improving men’s all around team took the spotlight Saturday at the long track speed skating World Cup team trials as Arne Dankers of Calgary broke the Canadian record in the men’s 3,000 metres race.

In the men’s 3,000, which also served as the qualifier for this fall’s World Cup 5,000 and 10,000 metre races, Dankers clocked three minutes and 41.96 seconds to break the previous national mark of 3:43.59 set earlier this year by Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta. Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., was second in 3:43.47 and Elm third in 3:43.48, also both under the previous national mark.

Dankers was pre-qualified for the World Cups in the 5,000 and 10,000 while Morrison and Elm grabbed the two available spots with their performances Saturday. Justin Warsylewicz of Regina and Jason Parker of Yorkton, Sask., qualified for the Calgary World Cup next month placing fourth and fifth respectively.

“I knew the times would be fast and everyone had great starts,” said Dankers, sixth in the 5,000 at the world championships last season. “So for me I needed to start faster than usual and get use to that speed. It’s a different race from a five kilometres and you have to make some changes to strategy. To see all the guys skating so well is very encouraging and motivating.”

In the women’s 3,000, Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg completed a weekend sweep with the win in 4:03.06. Klassen broke the world record in the 1,500 on Friday. Clara Hughes of Winnipeg was second at 4:06.35 while Anna Rokita of Austria took third spot in 4:14.70. Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., was fourth in 4:15.34 and Michelle d’Amours of Ste-Foy, Que was the next best Canadian in sixth in 4:17.74.

Klassen, Hughes and Kristina Groves were pre-qualified for the fall World Cups in the event while Nesbitt and d’Amours earned the two remaining spots.

“I’m not a long distance skater so I’m really surprised,’ said Nesbitt, who skated an 11-second personal best. “I was paired with Michelle d’Amours and I just wanted to stay with her as long as I could. I didn’t think I had a shot and never expected to beat Michelle. But I had a strong mental approach and didn’t worry about lap times. I just stayed with Michelle.”

The Canadian team is almost all set for the opening World Cups November 12-13 in Calgary and the following weekend in Salt Lake City. On Friday, the 1,500 qualifiers were Dankers, Elm, Morrison and Jason Parker of Yorkton, Sask., in the 1,500. The two three-member pursuit teams will be confirmed Sunday.

On the women’s side, 1,500 qualifiers on Friday were Klassen, Groves, Nesbitt, Hughes, and Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., Pursuit team number-one is Klassen, Groves and Hughes and number two Nesbitt, Simpson and Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg.

Next Friday and Saturday, the World Cup trials for the sprinters (500 and 1,000 metres) will be held here at the Olympic Oval.