Rested skater back in form

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:11 AM ET

To aid in her development, Kylee Toth needed some time away.

And now the Calgarian has recharged the batteries after a year off from short track speed skating.

The rest has paid off for the 20-year-old, who captured two out of four races at Winterfest 2005 this weekend at the Olympic Oval.

She won the 500 and 1,500 events Saturday, then fell in the 1,000 and came fourth in the 3,000 yesterday and said the time off did her a world of good.

"The year off helped a lot in terms of balancing my life with school. I was feeling tired and a bit over-trained and needed some rest, needed to do some school," said the third-year economics student at the University of Calgary. "It was good to take a break. Now I'm back and trying to make top-16 for next year and the Olympic trials."

That's going to be tough. The depth on the Canadian national team is the strongest out of any country in the world. Just making the squad is a feat in itself.

"It's a really, really big challenge but it'll be some good competition and hopefully I'll make it," said the Team Alberta skater.

It's not surprising she's feeling burnt out considering Toth has been honing her skills at the Oval since she was five years old.

Two years ago she was a member of the junior national team, then made the development team before her one-year hiatus.

Toth also skated for Canada's 2003 Winter Universiade team that competed in Italy.

With Winterfest wrapping up yesterday, Toth feels ready for the third and final national team trials in Montreal next month.

"This has been really good practise for our trials, so it's been good. I worked really hard this weekend and some races went my way and some didn't," she said.

B.C.'s Cory Rasmussen won the men's 1,000, followed by American Alex Izykowski and Ontario's Richard Shoebridge in third. Izykowski won the 3,000 followed by Rasmussen and B.C.'s Michael Friesen.

In the women's 1,000, Edmonton's Jessica Gregg beat American Cherise Wilkins, while Calgary's Crystal Phillips took third. American Carly Wilson captured the 3,000, followed closely by Phillips and American Sarah Lang.

KLASSEN BATTLES COLD: Cindy Klassen almost withdrew from the world all-around long-track speed skating champion-ship but skated through a bad cold yesterday to finish second behind German Anni Friesinger. Despite a sore throat, Klassen, the 25-year-old from Winnipeg, was third in the 1,500 metres and eighth in the 5,000 metres yesterday. Klassen was second in the 500 and fifth in the 3,000 Saturday. Friesinger swept all four races to take the title.


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