STOCKHOLM – Audrey Lacroix of Montreal put together the finest short course swim of her career on Wednesday as she won the gold medal in the women’s 200-metre butterfly to conclude the fifth stop on the World Cup swimming circuit.

Lacroix clocked two minutes and 04.53 seconds to smash her previous national short course mark of 2:06.90 set at the British Championships in 2004.

She also came within 0.49 seconds of the world record held by Yang Yu of China since 2004. In fact, Lacroix appeared headed for the world mark. She was under the record at all three splits (50-100-150 metres).

‘’I’m so happy, I had a great race,’’ said Lacroix. ‘’It’s a great way to start this stretch of competitions. I came here unsure of how I would fare. At 150 metres I couldn’t understand why the crowd was screaming so loud. I knew the race wasn’t that close. It’s only when I finished that I realized I was close to the world record.’’
Lacroix will have a couple of more opportunities this months to chase the mark. There is another World Cup stop this weekend in Berlin and November 23-25 the Bell Grand Prix is in Toronto.

‘’I felt I raced so well that I can’t pinpoint a specific area where I could gain that half second,’’ said Lacroix. ‘’I’ll need to analyze the race more closely. I came on this trip not fully prepared so I wasn’t thinking about records.’’

With her continued success throughout 2007, Lacroix says confidence is now a key factor in her improved performances. At the world championships earlier this year she placed fifth in Canadian record time.

‘’My long course (50-metre pool) performances are having an effect here for sure,’’ she said. ‘’I know I can race the top swimmers in the world. And I know this race inside out. I know what I need to do to have success in it.’’

Callum Ng of Vancouver fifth in the 50 backstroke while Chanelle Charron-Watson of Quebec City and Zsofia Balazs of Toronto were fifth and seventh respectively in the women’s 400 freestyle.