CALGARY - Christine Nesbitt took a run at the world record Saturday in winning the 1,000 metres at the Canadian single distance speedskating championships.
The 2010 Olympic champion, who is dominating the World Cup circuit at that distance this season, posted a time of one minute, 13.80 seconds at the Olympic Oval, coming within an eyelash of catching Canadian teammate Cindy Klassen’s world best time of 1:13.11.
Winnipeg's Klassen was third in 1:16.56. Brittany Schussler, also from Winnipeg, captured the silver in 1:16.10.
Jordan Belchos of Toronto won the men’s 10,000 to add to his 5,000 victory on Friday. Klassen won the 5,000.
Klassen’s 1,000 mark, which was also set in Calgary, has stood since 2006.
“No, I wasn’t,” said Nesbitt politely when asked if she was trying to break the record on a track that also surrendered Klassen’s current world records in the 500 and 5,000.
“I was just trying to have a good first lap. I haven’t skated a 1,000 on the outer (lane) in a long time, so I wanted to take advantage of that opportunity before world sprints. I will have to start on the outer there.”
Nesbitt has won all three World Cup 1,000 metre races this season, all held in Europe.
On the World Cup circuit the higher-ranked skater in each pairing is given the inner lane to start. Here in Calgary this week it is being determined by draw.
At the world sprint championships in Calgary on Jan. 28-29, both the 500 and 1,000 events will be two-race combined times, so skaters will have one inner lane and one outer lane start.
“(The outer lanes is) harder for me, because I don’t have a strong start compared to the pure sprinters. So, to start on the outer I find can be a disadvantage. So I was happy to practice that.
“I tried to skate as fast as I can the first lap and then finish the (two-and-a-half lap) race hard.”
Nesbitt’s previous best time this season was 1:14.82, which set a track record at Astana, Kazakhstan on Nov. 27.
She will skate the 500 metres Sunday to close out the Canadian championships and then will move on to Salt Lake City for a World Cup on Jan. 21-22.
Belchos defended his Canadian title in 13:32.33, some 10 seconds off his personal best recorded at Canadian trials last fall. Scott Bickerton of Nelson, B.C., took the silver in 1:47.83. Stefan Waples of Winnipeg finished third in 1:52.97.
“I knew I wasn’t in top form, so I just tried to win, basically,” said Belchos, who is recovering from a cold.
“Usually I can hold 31 (second laps) a little longer into the race. Today it didn’t come real easy.”
Klassen won the 5,000 in 7:08.42. Nicole Garrido of Edmonton was second in 7:16.40. Schussler captured the bronze in 7:14.26.