Canadian Olympians win four gold at European swim meet

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BARCELONA (ISN) – Olympic team nominees Brent Hayden of Mission, B.C., Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., and Barbara Jardin and Victoria Poon, both of Montreal, each won a gold medal on Saturday at the opening stop on the Mare Nostrum swimming circuit.

In the men’s 100 freestyle, Hayden, tuning up for this summer’s Olympics, clocked 49.02 seconds with Hanser Garcia of Cuba second in 49.32 and Nikita Lobintsev of Russia third in 49.40.

In the women’s 50 freestyle, Poon clocked 25.30 seconds finishing ahead of Marieke Guehrer Australia second in 25.40 and Chantal Van Landeghem of Winnipeg third in 25.50.

‘’It’s the first time Victoria wins a 50 metre race trailing at the halfway mark,’’ said Canadian coach Benoit Lebrun. ‘’It was her plan to be more relaxed at the start in order to have more intensity at the end.’’

Jardin earned her win in the 200 freestyle finishing in 1:59.11 more than a second ahead of her closest pursuer.

Savard was one of three Canadian finalists in the women’s 100 butterfly winning the race in 58.58. Noemie Thomas of Vancouver was fourth and Audrey Lacroix of Pont-Rouge fifth.

Canada added two more medals in the men’s 200 backstroke with Charles Francis of Cowansville, Que., second in 2:01.52 and Tobias Oriwol of Toronto third in 2:01.70. Chris Walker-Hebborn of Britain won the gold in 1:59.04.

Three Canadians were in the women’s 200 breaststroke final with Kierra Smith of Kelowna, B.C., snaring the silver in 2:28.41. Ashley McGregor of Pointe-Claire, Que., was sixth and Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson of Ottawa seventh.

‘’This series is a preparation for the Olympic Games,’’ said Lebrun. ‘’Everyone feels good and our goal here is to get on the podium.’’

In the women’s 100 backstroke, Jardin took fourth spot in 1:02.25. McGregor was also fourth in the 50 backstroke in 32.30 missing the podium by 0.16 seconds. Seltenreich-Hodgson was fifth in the 400 individual medley.

David Sharpe of Halifax was eighth in the men’s 200 butterfly.

The Mare Nostrum series is broadcasted daily on SportsnetONE.

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