Russell Wood and Jeffrey Swanston celebrate their strong finishes in the 50 metre backstroke.

Russell Wood sets Canadian record in 50m backstroke

A day after coming close to setting a record in the 100m, Calgary native makes history

Russell Wood is now a double national champion, and a Canadian record holder.

The Calgary, Alta. native swam a 25.13 on Thursday to capture his second gold medal at the 2015 Team Canada Trials, and set a new national record in the men’s 50 metre backstroke.

Pascal Wollach’s previous record of 25.23 set at the World Championships in Rome had held up since 2009.

“It feels really good,” Wood said at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. “I’ve been chasing that for a while and to finally get it, I feel pretty accomplished.”

Wood finished within three-tenths of a second of Wollach’s 100 metre backstroke record the night before.

Prior to Thursday’s race, Wood’s personal best in the 50m backstroke was 25.29, which earned him a third place finish at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Since then, Wood put his studies at the University of Calgary on hold to dedicate more time to training and competition.

That decision proved wise as Wood was well prepared for his Trials opponents. Jeffrey Swanston captured the silver with a time of 25.80 and Adam Best the bronze with a time of 26.23.

Neither was able to get the better of Wood who led the race from start to finish. He completes a trifecta of backstroke events with the 200 metre swim on Friday.

“I’m just chasing the third gold tomorrow night,” Wood said. “So we’ll see how that goes.”