Three top-8s on final day

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ISTANBUL – Canada had three top-eight finishers as the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) wrapped up Sunday in Istanbul.

Noemie Thomas of Richmond, B.C., wrapped up her strong week with her second fourth-place finish of the world short-course championships. Thomas swam the 100-metre butterfly final in 56.92, just off the Canadian record of 56.64 she set Saturday.

“I’m really happy with the results but it took a lot to get there.

I knew that by the end of the five-day meet I would be hurting. It’s just a matter of staying tough at the end,” Thomas said. “That race panned out a bit differently than I thought it would. At the end of a meet like this it’s kind of hard. It’s mostly like 70 per cent to 90 per cent mental stuff, so you just kind of have to plow through it and know that it’s just all mental. You have to just keep your head down and not really think about what your body’s telling you after such a long week of racing.”

Toronto’s Martha McCabe and Tera Van Beilen of Oakville, Ont., finished sixth and seventh in the women’s 200-m breaststroke final. McCabe posted a time of 2:20.70, just ahead of Van Beilen’s second personal best of the day: 2:21.11. Van Beilen qualified sixth with a 2:21.84 in the heats, with McCabe just 0.07 behind in seventh.

“Two best times in one day, that doesn’t happen very often so I’ll take it when it does. It hurt a lot more than it did this morning but that was expected. I wanted to just go in there and see what I could do and I came out with a best time finally after a couple close misses all week,” Van Beilen said.

Van Beilen made the semifinals in both the 50-m and 100-m breaststroke, but missed both finals, including ninth the 100-m by just 0.06 seconds. She was also part of the 4×100-m medley relay that missed finals in ninth by 0.13. After finishing ninth in a swim-off at the 2012 Olympics in London, she had had enough of near misses and came up with two best swims on the final day.

“(The improved times) came from not wanting to be ninth again. It’s an awful number, officially my least favourite number in the book so I’m not going to let that happen again. I think just determination to not just see that nine (motivated me),” she said.

Canada had 13 swimmers competing at the world short-course championships. The five-day event is the first major international swimming competition since the London Olympics. For complete results, visit www.omegatiming.com.

The swimmers viewed the meet as an important step to get the competitive juices flowing again with a focus on next year’s FINA World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona.

“Coming off the Olympics it’s kind of all about keeping up the momentum right now so I’ll take it,” said McCabe, who was coming off a fifth-place finish in 200-m breaststroke at the Olympics. “It wasn’t great, it wasn’t bad and I think that was kind of the goal coming in here was to keep in touch with the international scene and race against these girls.”

In other Canadian action, Barrie, Ont., native Coleman Allen set yet another personal best in his busy week of swimming, stopping the clock at 1:57.45 in the 200-m butterfly for 23rd place.

Oakville’s Zack Chetrat followed with a personal best of his own at 1:54.28, but had to settle for 11th, 0.37 out of a spot in the finals. Chetrat also swam the 1500-m freestyle in 15:18.22, good for 28th place.

Jake Tapp (Langley, B.C.) came 26th in men’s 200-m backstroke at 1:57.78. Heather MacLean (Etobicoke, Ont.) went 1:58.80 in women’s 200-m freestyle for 23rd spot. The men’s 4×100-m medley relay team of Tapp, Andrew Poznikoff, Allen, and Tommy Gossland, finished 13th at 3:33.53..

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