Hannah Riordan of Cornwall, Ont., capped a sensational summer season in international junior swimming on Saturday with victories in the 50-metre freestyle and 4X100 medley relay to conclude the North American Challenge Cup with five gold medals.
Riordan took the women’s 50 freestyle in the 17-18 age group in 26.53 seconds with Breanna Hendricks of Calgary second in 27.38.
This summer with the junior program, Riordan won a silver medal in the 50 freestyle at the world juniors last month in Mexico and won four gold medals at the Tri Nations Cup last weekend in Quebec City against the top juniors from France and Britain.
‘’It’s been the best summer of my life,’’ said Riordan, 17. ‘’I got a lot of experience and got to meet a lot of new people. The big improvement I made was finishing my races. I tended to tail off a bit at the end and I fixed that this year.’’
Riordan dreamt of being race horse jockey as a youngster but by 12 she knew that swimming was her calling. ‘’My whole perspective on competitive swimming changed when Robert Eynon joined our club (the Cornwall Sea Lions) as the head coach in 2003,’’ said Riordan. ‘’He gave me a lot of motivation in the sport and turned it around for me.’’
Another junior sensation this summer was Amanda Reason of Windsor, Ont., who took the 100 breaststroke Saturday in the 13-14 age group in a meet record 1:10.46 just slightly off her personal best. Reason won a bronze medal in the 50 breaststroke at the world juniors last month and broke the Canadian senior record in the event.
‘’I felt pretty strong I was surprised to get such a good time,’’ said Reason, 14, who only started swimming at age 10 and started focusing on the breaststroke two years ago. ‘’My big improvement this year was in my kick and my stroke technique.’’
Canada’s 64-member team won the overall crown at the three country meet which also featured swimmers from the U.S., and Mexico and races in four separate age groups for men and women.
Full results at: www.swimming.ca/liveresults/08NACC/index.htm