Savannah King leads Canadian medal charge with gold at U.S., meet

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LOS ANGELES – Canadian Olympic team nominees Savannah King of Vernon, B.C., and Tanya Hunks of Vancouver finished 1-2 Friday in the women’s 400-metre freestyle at the annual Janet Evans International swimming competition.

Canada ended the first day of competition with five medals. Scott Dickens of Burlington, Ont., added a silver in the men’s 100-metre breaststroke and helped Vancouver’s UBC Dolphins to the silver in the men’s 4X100 freestyle relay.

Brian Johns of Richmond, B.C., was third in the men’s 200 individual medley.

In the women’s 400 freestyle, King clocked four minutes and 13.57 seconds for the victory in the event in which she qualified for the Games at the trials in April. She edged Hunks in second at 4:13.96 while Lynette Lim of Singapore was third in 4:16.42.

‘’It was good,’’ said King, 16. ‘’I just wanted to beat my best in training time and I did that by about two seconds. I was focusing primarily on having stronger kicks during the whole race and some stronger pulling.’’

In the men’s 100 breaststroke, Damir Dugonjic of Slovenia was the winner in 1:01.52 with Dickens a close second in 1:01.73 and John Criste of the U.S., third in 1:02.42.

‘’It was pretty surprised with the time I went,’’ said Dickens. ‘’I’m just happy I’m swimming fast again after a disappointing trials. I was a bit scared getting back into it but just forcing myself to race was the best solution.’’

Dickens closed out the evening leading off UBC’s silver medal performance in the 4X100 freestyle relay with Rory Biskupski, Stefan Mikuska and Duncan Furrer. They clocked 3:31.59 with a U.S., club taking the gold 3:26.86.

In the men’s 200-metre individual medley, Tamas Kerekjarto of Hungary took the gold in 2:01.76, Vanni Mangoni of Italy was second in 2:02.48 and Johns was third in 2:02.83.

Other Canadian finalists were Brent Hayden of Mission, B.C., fourth in the men’s 50 freestyle, Hunks fourth in the women’s 200 IM and Annamay Pierse of Edmonton fifth in the 100 breaststroke.

Meanwhile at an Invitational Meet in Omaha, Canadian Olympic team nominee Joel Greenshields of Airdrie, Alta., won the bronze medal in the men’s 100 freestyle clocking 49.08. Swimming superstar Michael Phelps of the U.S., won the race in 48.56.

Competition at both venues continue through to Sunday.

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