SYDNEY, Australia- Chantal Vanlandeghem put a golden finish on a successful meet for a 13-member Canadian youth and junior team Saturday with a victory in the women’s 100-metre butterfly for 15-year-olds at the Australian age group swimming championships.
Canada earned five more medals Saturday to conclude the six-day competition with 20 podium appearances.
Vanlandeghem clocked one minute and 01.04 seconds for the win and her fifth medal of the competition, tops on the Canadian team.
“I wanted to get a best time but winning the gold made up for that,” said Vanlandeghem, who clocked 0.1 seconds off her personal best. “I closed the race pretty well in the last 10-15 metres, I kept my stroke even and put my head down to the wall. It’s extremely exciting to come here and see that I’m just as strong as the Australians my own age.
It was a big day for Canadian Olympic team member Lindsay Seeman of Newmarket, Ont., who collected silver medals in both the women’s 800 freestyle and 200 backstroke for 16-year-olds.
Jacqueline Keire of Toronto grabbed her fourth medal of the competition adding a silver in the 200 freestyle for 14-year-olds. Natasha Fung of St. Albert, Alta., notched her first medal placing third in the 200 individual medley for 15-year-olds.
Vanlandeghem was also fifth in the 200 IM, Braeden Newton of St. Albert sixth in the 200 backstroke for 16-year-olds and Lindsay Delmar of Burlington, Ont., ninth in the women’s 800 freestyle for 16-year-olds.
“We never expected to come here and win 20 medals,” said Canadian national junior coach Ken McKinnon. “We were only three weeks into our training cycle, there was a transition to make from short course to the long course season plus the travel.”
Racing wasn’t the only items on the agenda for the Canadian swimmers.
“They swam nine to 10 kilometres a day in training throughout the competition and they worked hard and stayed consistent,” said McKinnon. “They handled themselves really well. To race one of the best countries in the world on their turf was a very valuable experience for their development.”
The trip has not yet ended for the Canadians. Next is a training camp with the Miami Swim Club in Miami, Australia. The head coach there is Dennis Cotterill who has developed more than 40 Olympians throughout this career including triple Olympic champion Grant Hackett.