East-West rivalry heats up at Youth Dual Meet

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WINNIPEG – Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., posted three individual wins on Tuesday to open the inaugural Youth Dual Meet swimming competition and help keep Team West in contention for top spot at the short course event.

Team East holds the lead after day one of two with 581 points while Team West is second at 515.

There were 44 races and the East won 23 of them.

The competition targets Canada’s top youth and prospect age swimmers. The youth age for the boys is 16-17 and prospects 15 and under.  For the girls it’s 15-16 and 14 and under. Swimmers earn points for their team for each individual race with points doubled for relays.

Smith finished first in the 200-m freestyle, 100-m butterfly and 100-m individual medley in the 14 and under age group.

‘’To race this many events in one night is a big challenge,’’ said Smith, who was also on a couple of relays. ‘’You really have to manage your time properly during the competition. Sometimes we are really tight for time. But it’s a lot of fun and we could follow the team score which was very motivating for our races. It’s exciting it is this close.’’

Sarah Darcel of Victoria posted victories in the 100-m individual medley and 200-m IM in the 16-17 age group. Margaret MacNeil of London, Ont., led the East with four medals including gold in the girls 200-m IM in the 14 and under category.

In the boys races, Matthew Mac of Oakville, Ont., was the only swimmer to win two individual events.  He was first in the 100-m backstroke and 200-m backstroke. Mac is tuning up for the Youth Olympics next month in China.

‘’I was really hoping to go under two minutes in the 200-m backstroke but I’m happy overall with my racing,’’ said Mac. ‘’This is a really neat experience and I like to race short course.  It’s a really good preparation for China.’’

Montana Champagne of Ottawa, Philip Kay of Ajax, Ont., and Josh Zakala of Kamloops, B.C., each finished in the top-three three times. Zakala is one of several swimmers who has now competed for seven straight days.The Canadian Age Group Championships ran from Wednesday to Monday which included the open water event to end the meet.

The Western Team comprises swimmers from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba; the Eastern Team is Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I., and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Full results: http://swimmanitoba.mb.ca/liveresults/

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