Lemieux & Jean win short track speed skating national team trials

Raphaële Lemieux of Riviere-du-Loup, Que., and Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., won their respective 1,000 metre races on Sunday to place first overall at the national team trials in short track speed skating.

Lemieux tabulated 2,721 points over the four races this weekend in women’s competition. She was standing fifth overall after the 1,500 and 500 metre races on Friday and Saturday. Ivanie Blondin of Orleans, Ont., winner of the 3,000m race finished second overall at 2,703 and Annick Plamondon of Longueuil, Que., who was tied for first with Blondin entering Sunday’s races, was third at 2,652.

“I had a great day,” said Lemieux. “It made up for some bad luck in the other races. But I knew today was the big day for me with the 1,000 and 3,000 which are my two best events. I was ready when I came to the rink this morning.”

Nita Avrith of Montreal was fourth overall at 2,443, Anna Maltais of Quebec City fifth at 1,960 and Jessica Gregg of Edmonton sixth at 1,643.

On the men’s side, Jean completed a golden sweep of all four races with his two wins on Sunday to finish with a perfect 4,000 points. Remi Beaulieu of Montreal was second overall at 2,527 and Marc-André Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., third at 2,287.

“I didn’t expect to win all four races but it’s a good way to reach your goals,” said Jean, a 21-year-old ecology student, who is in a good position to get back on next season’s national team. “The big thing for me was confidence and that just built as the competition went on. But nothing is clinched yet and I have to come back and do it again at the Canadian Open.”

Mathieu Giroux of Montreal was fourth at 2,234, Richard Shoebridge of Cambridge, Ont., fifth at 1,664 and Guillaume Bastille of Longueuil, Que., sixth at 1,463.

The second part of the trials which will help determine next season’s national and developmental teams, is scheduled for the Canada Post Open Championships in March.