Whitehorse’s Jessica Frotten won two national titles at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Ottawa, July 3-9. Frotten will represent Canada at her second world championship next week in London, England. (Shelley Lewis/Yukon News)

Jessica Frotten speeds to two titles at track nationals

Para racer bags two gold, two silver in Ottawa

When Whitehorse’s Jessica Frotten arrived at the Canadian Track and Field Championships last week she was greeted by a huge thunderstorm.

“I thought, I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come,” she said.

It might have been — Frotten was lightning-fast on the track.

The 29-year-old para wheelchair racer won two national titles at the championships in Ottawa, July 3-9.

“It was really good. No (personal bests) or anything, but I had some good solid races,” said Frotten in an interview from Nottwil, Switzerland. “I’m feeling really good. We’ve been in Switzerland for three days. We’re just having a little staging camp here and then we go to London on Wednesday.”

Frotten, who is in Switzerland preparing for the World Para Athletics Championships next week in the U.K. capital, won gold in the 200-metre and 800-metre events in Ottawa last week.

She finished second in the 200 behind Paralympian Jessica Lewis of Bermuda, who was not eligible for medals as a non-Canadian. Frotten finished in 31.61 seconds, just 0.01 behind Lewis.

“We didn’t know who had it at the line and then we came across and they announced it,” said Frotten. “It was a photo finish for sure.”

Frotten, who won her first national titles in the same events in 2014, took gold in the 800-metre with a time of 2:06.85, almost two seconds ahead of Lewis.

The hardware didn’t stop there. Frotten won silver in the 400-metre, finishing behind Paralympian Diane Roy of Sherbrooke, Que. Frotten’s time of 1:02.69 was just off the personal best she posted at a Quebec meet a couple weeks ago.

Frotten, who races for the Saskatoon Cyclones, also bagged silver in the 1,500-metre at 3:53.36, just a second and a half behind Roy. Frotten hopes to make Canada’s team for the Commonwealth Games next year for the 1,500 event — one of just two para wheelchair events offered, along with the marathon distance.

Frotten decided not to race the 100-metre in Ottawa. “I really don’t like the 100,” she said.

“Overall it was a really good competition,” Frotten added. “It was in Ottawa and was right after Canada 150, so the whole place was crazy.”

The upcoming world championships will be her second. Frotten made two finals at the 2015 world championships in Qatar, finishing seventh in the 200-metre and eighth in the 100-metre.

Next week she’ll race the 200-, 400-, 100- and 800-metre events in that order.

“I’ve been having a really good season. I guess I am feeling confident about it but I don’t want get overconfident,” said Frotten. “I’m just going to take what I know into there and do what I’m supposed to do and see what happens.”

Frotten secured a spot on the worlds team with exceptional performances at three consecutive meets in Switzerland in May and into June.

She set her first Canadian record and nearly notched a second at the Daniela Jutzeler Memorial on May 25 in Arbon. She placed seventh in the 800-metre with a Canadian record time of 1:58.30.

Frotten won silver in the 200-metre at 31.28, just 0.24 behind gold medalist Lewis. She also took sixth in the 400-metre, breaking the one-minute mark for her first time at 59.92 seconds

She also placed fourth in the 200 at the Swiss Nationals and notched numerous podium finishes at the ParAthletics Grand Prix in Nottwil in early June.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com