Canadians wins six gold medals to open Tri Nations Cup swimming competition

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QUEBEC CITY – Hannah Riordan of Cornwall, Ont., won the gold medal in the women’s 50 freestyle then helped Canada to relay gold in the women’s 4X100 freestyle and 4X100 medley relays at the Tri Nations Cup swimming competition.

Canada won six gold medals to open the two-day meet which features the top prospects expected to challenge for spots on the 2012 Olympic teams for Canada, France and Britain.

After the first day, Britain leads the medal standings with nine gold, 10 silver and four bronze. Canada is at 6-4-7 and France at 2-3-5.

In the women’s 50 freestyle, Riordan clocked 26.02 seconds for the victory. She won the silver medal in the event at the world junior championships last month. Emma Wilkins of Britain was second in 26.64 and Hayley Nell of London, Ont., third in 26.67.

In the women’s 200 IM, Paige Schultz of Toronto clocked two minutes and 15.71 seconds for the victory. Emma Smithhurst of Britain was second at 2:16.25 and Melanie Dodds of Langley, B.C., was third in 2:16.59.

‘’I’m so happy that swim came out of nowhere,’’ said Schultz, 17. ‘’My big area of improvement was in the breaststroke. I haven’t raced it that much in the last year due to a sore hip. And the atmosphere here is very exciting. It’s a lot bigger meet than I expected.’’

In the women’s 800 freestyle, Barbara Jardin of Montreal was the winner in 8:43.97 with Katy Whitfield of Britain second in 8:45.21 and Zsofia Balazs of Toronto third in 8:48.70. Last month, Jardin won two medals at the world junior championships in Mexico and three more at the Summer Nationals.

‘’It’s been quite a challenge to compete at three big events like this in a row,’’ said Jardin, 16. ‘’I’ve never gone through that before. But I was really happy with my swim tonight. I was only two-tenths off my personal best and it was a nice comeback from nationals where it didn’t go as well as I would have liked.’’

In the men’s 200 butterfly, Mackenzie Leblanc of Vernon, B.C., took the gold in 2:00.13 with Romain Sassot of France second in 2:00.24 and Iain MacMillan of Britain third in 2:00.64.

‘’My first 50 metres and last 25 were the best parts of my race,’’ said Leblanc, 20. ‘’My third length though was a little weaker than I wanted. Still I’m happy with my race, I wanted to come here and win at least one event. The 200 fly is my best event, so I felt this was my best chance to do that.’’

Also with gold was the women’s 4X100 freestyle relay with Riordan, Emily Wong of Ottawa, Seanna Mitchell of Calgary and Alexandra Gabor of Whitehorse and the women’s 4X100 medley relay with Tess Simpson of Cornwall, Ashley McGregor of Pointe-Claire, Que., Kendra Chernoff of Saskatoon and Riordan.

Canadian silver medallists were Jordan Hartney of Vancouver in the men’s 400 IM, Charles Francis of Montreal in the men’s 100 backstroke, Samantha Cheverton of Pointe-Claire in the women’s 100 backstroke and the men’s 4X200 freestyle relay with Hassaan Abdel-Khalik of Etobicoke, Ont., Ray Betuzzi of Calgary, Matthew Swanston of Newmarket, Ont., and Adam Szoo of Quebec City.

The other Canadian bronze medallists were Hilary Bell of Toronto in the 200 freestyle and Gabrielle Soucisse of Beaconsfield, Que., in the 200 backstroke for the women and for the men, Marco Monaco of Toronto in the 200 breaststroke and the men’s 4X50 freestyle relay with Octavian Petre of Montreal, Jeffrey Sudbury of Toronto, Nicolas Murray of Quebec City and Swanston.

Competition ends Saturday.

Full results available at: https://swimming.ca/liveresults/08Trinationscup/index.html

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