Olympians and prospective Olympians spent the 100-day countdown Wednesday to the 2012 London Summer Games quietly doing their thing.
The seven Island-based swimmers qualified for London splashed through their paces at Saanich Commonwealth Place, while the rowers preparing for London were on Elk Lake as usual at the break of dawn.
Qualification is on-going in many sports with only about one-third of the Canadian team to London selected so far.
Qualification drama is unfolding on Elk Lake, where Stelly's Secondarygrad Patricia Obee of Victoria will race-off Tuesday at 9: 30 a.m. against Tracy Cameron of Nova Scotia for the second seat in the Canadian women's lightweight double for London. Claremont-grad Lindsay Jennerich of Victoria is guaranteed one of the two seats in the boat that has qualified for London.
Jennerich and Cameron won gold at the 2010 world championships. With Cameron injured, Jennerich and 18-year-old upstart Obee won silver at the 2011 worlds. It was decided a row-off was the only fair way to decide who goes to the Olympics between Cameron and Obee. The double is the lone Olympics women's lightweight event.
"Lindsay [Jennerich] has demonstrated she is the best athlete," said legendary Canadian coach Mike Spracklen of Sidney, as to why it's not a threeway row-off.
Spracklen added the Canadian men's eight, largely madeover following retirements from the gold-medallist Beijing Olympic crew, is still a force.
"The eight is very strong and will be competitive [in London]," he said.
"Its ERG [stationary rowing machine] scores are higher than that of our Beijing eight. But the standard around the world has gotten higher, too."
Down Brazil way, two Comox hopefuls in beach volleyball - Martin Reader and the marvellously-named Maverick Hatch - received setbacks when they both went 1-1 with their partners in preliminary matches Wednesday and were unable to advance to the main draw of the opening stop of the 2012 FIVB world tour taking place in Brasilia. But more Olympic qualifying points will be up for grabs in later events and the Islanders are still very much in the hunt for London.
Meanwhile, goalkeepers Rachel Riddell of Victoria and Serena Bredin of Winnipeg shared the net for Canada (2-1-1) in Wednesday's 11-4 victory over Brazil that wrapped up round-robin play at the lastchance Olympic qualifier for women's water polo in Trieste, Italy. The Canadians advanced to the quarter-finals of the tournament out of which the top-four will advance to London.
Two-time Olympian Geoff Kabush, a UVic mechanical engineering grad out of Courtenay, was 11th and Max Plaxton of Victoria 59th behind winner Julien Absalon of France at the recent UCI World Cup men's mountain bike race in Houffalize, Belgium, where key qualifying points for London were on offer.
World champion Catharine Pendrel, a New Brunswick native who has certainly come a long way since her days as a recreational rider with the UVic Triathlon Club, cemented her standing as one of Canada's biggest gold-medal hopes for London, by winning the women's UCI World Cup mountain bike race in Houffalize. There is nothing recreational about her now.
More than 45 Island-based athletes are expected to be on the Canadian team for the London Summer Games, now in 99 days and counting.
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