CALGARY - Ottawa's Ivanie Blondin and recent emigrant Ted-Jan Bloemen won Friday's distance races at Speed Skating Canada's ISU World Cup long-track selections.
Blondin skated a strong four minutes 7.7 seconds to win the women's 3,000 metre, while Bloemen finished with a personal best of 6:15.75 in the men's 5,000 metre.
Ottawa skaters swept the top three women's spots. Lauren McGuire was second in 4:13.66 and Isabelle Weidemann took third in 4:13.85, a personal best.
Jordan Belchos of Markham, Ont., was second in the men's 5,000 in 6:32.56. Winnipeg's Stefan Waples placed third in 6:35.86.
Blondin has set personal bests in three distances already, including a 4:04.99 in the 3,000 metre during a time trial at the Olympic Oval on Sept. 26. That time is also the fastest in the world for a 3,000 this season.
"It's better than I skated all of last season, so I'm pretty happy with it," Blondin said. "I still need to work on my nerves leading up to races, though. This being the first race of the season that actually counted for something, I think I let the nerves get to me a bit too much today."
"But, at the same time, I can't really complain about the time. It still is a really good time."
Bloemen has had quite a week. He received written proof of his Canadian citizenship — his father, Gerhard-Jan, was born in New Brunswick — and he had to go to downtown Calgary on Thursday to get his passport. Once Bloemen receives approval from the International Skating Union, he will be eligible to skate for Canada on the World Cup circuit. He hopes that will happen in time for the opening event in Obihiro, Japan, Nov. 14-16.
On the women's side, McGuire almost established a new personal best in the 3,000 metre, coming within 0.66 seconds of doing so. She is coming off a tough 2013-2014 season, in which she was dealing with her father's terminal illness. Joe McGuire died last winter of ALS.
Canada has a fall World Cup quota of three skaters for the women's 3,000-metre and 5,000-metre events, and of two for the men's 5,000-metre and 10,000-metre races.