SPORTS

Dubreuil, de Haitre skate fastest sprint times of season at Canadian nationals

01/05/2015 10:08 EST | Updated 03/07/2015 05:59 EST
CALGARY - Laurent Dubreuil and Vincent de Haitre skated the fastest sprint times in the world this season on Monday as they went on to win the men's 500-metre and 1,000-metre races at the Canadian single distance long track speed skating championships.

Dubreuil, from Levis Que., crossed the line in 34.50 seconds in the 500 metres while De Haitre, from Cumberland, Ont., followed in the 1000 metres with a winning time of one minute 7.63 seconds. Both are personal bests.

Russia's Pavel Kulizhnikov had the previous fastest time in the 500 metres this season— a 34.58 skated at the Heerenveen World Cup on Dec. 14. The previous fastest 1,000 metres in the world, this season, was raced by de Haitre in a time of 1:07.71 at the Canadian fall World Cup trials on Oct. 26.

"On my last corner, I was going faster than I've ever gone, so I had a hard time hanging on to the turn and attacking it," Dubreuil said of his skate. "I definitely left a tenth, a tenth-and-a-half of a second out there, but it's still my personal best. It's a good race. It's up to par with the world cup races where I've won medals this season."

Calgary's Gilmore Junio, who won Sunday's 500-metre event, was second in Monday's 500 metre in 34.55. Edmonton's Jamie Gregg took the bronze in 34.82.

Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., earned silver in Monday's 1,000-metre race with a time 1:08.02, while Junio picked up the bronze in 1:08.59.

"I felt really tired today and I didn't think I could repeat my performance from fall trials," said de Haitre. "It turns out I could and I surprised myself, so I'm pretty happy about that."

Dubreuil opted out of Monday's 1,000 metre, satisfied that his time of 1:08.40 — good for second place in Sunday's 1,000 metre — was good enough to stand up and combine with his 500 metre to qualify him for the upcoming world sprint championships.

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