Road To The Olympic Games

Speed Skating

Canada's Heather McLean among top 10 early at sprint speed skating worlds

Canada's Heather McLean is ranked in the top 10 after the first day of races at the world sprint speed skating championships on Saturday in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

Winnipeg native 9th overall, 1.44 seconds behind leader, after 500m, 1,000

Heather McLean of Winnipeg placed 11th in the women's 500 metres on Saturday and 12th in the 1,000 to finish the day ranked ninth at the world sprint speed skating championships in the Netherlands. (Matthias Schrader/Associated Press/File)

Canada's Heather McLean is ranked in the top 10 after the first day of races at the world sprint speed skating championships on Saturday in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

McLean was the top Canadian on the women's side, earning an 11th place result (38.10 seconds) in the 500 metres and 12th place finish (one minute 16.23 seconds) in the 1,000. The Winnipeg native finished the day ranked ninth (76.215) in the overall standings, 1.44 seconds behind the leader.

"The race environment for the world championships here is great," said McLean, who is coming off a 10th place finish in the 500 at the world single distance championships a few weeks ago. "The crowd has a ton of energy and it's making this competition fun.

"As far as the races go I'm becoming more consistent with the opener in the 500 metres but the 1,000 metres is what I am most proud of right now. It's always been a challenging distance for me and it's really coming along the second half of this season. Looking forward to two more races tomorrow!"

Calgary's Kaylin Irvine finished only a few spots behind McLean in both distances, coming 13th (38.38) in the 500 and 16th in the 1,000 (1:16.92). She sits 15th overall (76.840), 2.07 seconds back of top spot.

Laurent Dubreuil of Levis, Que. reached the top 10 in the men's 500, finishing 10th with a time of 35.05. He also earned a 13th place (1:09.75) result in the 1,000, helping him finish the day ranked 13th (69.925) in the overall standings, 1.16 seconds behind the leader.

Montreal's Christopher Fiola was 17th (35.31) in the 500 and 20th (1:10.47) in the 1,000. The 22-year-old currently sits 19th overall (+1.78).

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