Women’s relay leads charge with silver

GUAM – A silver medal in the women’s 4X100 freestyle relay highlighted a quadruple medal performance for Canadian swimmers on Saturday at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships.

Matthew Swanston of Newmarket, Ont., made two trips to the podium helping Canada to bronze in the men’s 4X100 freestyle relay and also placed third in the 200 backstroke.

Kendra Chernoff of Saskatoon was also third in the women’s 100 butterfly.

After three days of competition, Canada has nine medals (one gold, two silver and six bronze).

In the women’s 4X100 freestyle relay, the U.S., won the gold medal in a meet record three minutes and 42.73 seconds. Canada with Hannah Riordan of Cornwall, Ont., Paige Schultz of Toronto, Sinead Russell of Oakville, Ont., and Heather MacLean of Etobicoke, Ont., followed in 3:44.22. Australia was third in 3:44.52.

‘’We were really pumped and achieved our goal,’’ said Schultz. ‘’Beating such a strong team as the Australians is really awesome. We had gained a lot of confidence from our third place in the 4X200 freestyle and we knew it was possible to move up in this race. We were ready.’’

In the men’s 200 backstroke, Gareth Kean of New Zealand took the gold in 1:59.52, Takahiro Yamazaki of Japan was second in 2:00.56 and Swanston took the bronze in 2:01.24. Nicholas Sinclair of Victoria was seventh.

‘’I thought it was pretty good and I’m happy to reach the podium,’’ said Swanston, 17, a silver medallist in the event at the world junior championships last year. ‘’The two Japanese swimmers who were my main opponents were on the other side of the pool and I couldn’t see them. But I knew it was going to be a very fast race. I would have liked a better time on my first length.’’

Swanston later helped Canada to third spot in the men’s 4X100 freestyle with David Woodman of Calgary, Bogdan Knezevic of Etobicoke and Hassaan Abdel-Khalik of Mississauga, Ont. The foursome clocked 3:23.67. Australia won the gold in 3:19.72 and Japan was second in 3:22.11. The U.S., was fourth.

‘’Incredible,’’ said Woodman. ‘’I’ve never been involved in something like this before. Everybody wanted to do their best for everybody else. When in your in that kind of situation and it’s a close race, it just pushes you that much harder.’’

In the women’s 100 butterfly, Natsuki Akayama of Japan was the winner in 1:00.19, Lauren Harrington of the U.S., second in 1:00.51 and Chernoff third in 1:00.53.

‘’I definitely need to have a better start,’’ said Chernoff, 17, who was fifth at the halfway point. ‘’I was three one hundredths off my best time and I think I lost that time in the first 50 metres. Overall I was pleased with my race but I felt a gold was possible for me.’’

Other Canadian finalists: for the men, Jeremy Bagshaw of Victoria and Abdel-Khalik were sixth and seventh respectively in the 400 freestyle and Joshua Au of St. Albert, Alta., eighth in the 100 butterfly. For the women, Russell and Geneviève Cantin of Quebec City were fourth and seventh in the 200 backstroke and Zsofia Balazs of Toronto was sixth in the 400 freestyle.

Competition ends Sunday.