Canadian women earn medley relay silver, Schultz and Balazs add bronze at Junior Pan Pacific Championships

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Schultz breaks 18-year-old national age group record

GUAM – Canada’s women’s 4X100 medley relay team won the silver medal and nearly upset the powerful American team on Sunday at the Junior Pan Pacific swimming championships.

Paige Schultz and Zsofia Balazs, both of Toronto, added bronze medals in the women’s 200 individual medley and 1,500 freestyle respectively. After four days of competition, Canada has 12 medals (one gold, three silver and eight bronze).

The open water races conclude the meet on Monday.

In the women’s 4X100 medley relay, the Americans needed a powerful final leg by Dagny Knutson to win the gold in a meet record 4:06.04. Canada which led the Americans after three of the eight split times, took the silver in 4:06.25 with Sinead Russell of Oakville, Ont., Amanda Reason of Windsor, Ont., Kendra Chernoff of Saskatoon and Hannah Riordan of Cornwall, Ont. Australia was third in 4:06.31.

‘’We really wanted to show that Canada is a country not to be messed with,’’ said Riordan, 17. ‘’We took a lot of people by surprise. I think the American team was more focused on the Australians and didn’t expect us to be in the mix. That threw them off a bit and we almost got them.’’

In the women’s 200 individual medley, Knutson, who ended her competition with six gold, was first in 2:10.79. Her compatriot Elizabeth Pelton was second in 2:12.07.

Schultz won a close battle for the bronze over Ellen Fullerton of Australia clocking. 2:15.57. The time was also a Canadian 15-17 age group record. The previous mark was 2:15.61 set by Nancy Sweetnam of Lindsay, Ont., in 1990.

‘’I really wanted that record,’’ said Schultz, 17. ‘’ I had come close last summer and I knew this was going to be an excellent chance to do it and it also got me the medal. I’ve raced Ellen several times before and I knew she was going to make a late charge to the finish but I was confident too.’’

Russell was eighth.

In the women’s 1,500 freestyle, Haley Anderson of the U.S., led the U.S., to a 1-2 finish in 16:30.81, Amber McDermott was second in 16:34.58 and Balazs was third in 16:36.70, bettering her personal best by 22 seconds. Nadine Williams of Edmonton was eighth.

‘’I was really happy because I had some tough swims overall this week,’’ said Balazs, 18. ‘’It’s a great feeling to come back with a medal. The difference today is that I just went out there and raced rather than worrying about personal bests. I didn’t over analyze anything and relied on my training.’’

Other Canadian finalists in women’s competition were Reason and Riordan, fourth and sixth respectively in the 50 freestyle and Ashley McGregor of Pointe-Claire, Que., fifth in the 200 breaststroke.

Canadian men finalists were: Jeremy Bagshaw of Victoria fourth in the 800 freestyle, Bogdan Knezevic of Etobicoke, Ont., sixth in the 200 breaststroke and Matthew Swanston of Newmarket, Ont., and Karim Zayed of Pointe-Claire, seventh and eighth in the 50 freestyle.

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