Universiade (swimming): Women’s relay sets tone for Canada at the pool


KAZAN, Russia (Courtesy of Swimming Canada) – It was thestart they wanted. Canada’s swim team set the tone for themeet by winning one medal during Wednesday’s opening day ofthe competition at the Summer Universiade and also put themselvesin position to add to the haul on Day 2.

Team Canada website:http://english.cis-sic.ca/universiade/summer/2013

Team Canada Twitter: @CDNUniversiade |#gocanada

Summer Universiade website:www.kazan2013.com/en

The women’s 4×100-metre relay team battled to a bronzemedal in a time of three minutes, 40.71 seconds while KaterineSavard of Pont-Rouge, Que., heads into Thursday night’s finalof the 50-metre butterfly with the second fastest time in thesemifinals. Five other Canadians also reached the final of theirevents.

“I think the goal of the whole day was to medal,”said Brittany MacLean of Etobicoke, Ont., who swam the anchor legin the relay. “It’s great to bring home a medal on thefirst night and get the ball rolling for Team Canada’ssuccess at this meet.

“Going into the next few days I think people are excited.We’re capable of being up there with the rest of the worldand we are going to be a force to reckon with the rest of theweek.”

The relay team of MacLean, 19; Paige Schultz, 22, ofScarborough, Ont.; Caroline Lapierre-Lemire, 22, of Rouyn-Noranda,Que.; and Sandrine Mainville, 21, of Boucherville, Que., jockeyedfor position with a strong American team throughout the race. Onthe final leg, MacLean had to fight off a late challenge from adetermined Australian team.

“It was going to take a really fast swim to get inthere,” said MacLean, a member of Canada’s 2012 SummerOlympic team. “It was time to get up and go.

“At that point it’s mostly adrenaline. Ididn’t feel too much pressure.”

The Russian Federation took the gold in a Universiade recordtime of 3:38.15 with the U.S. just 0.45 behind.

Savard, the Canadian record holder in both the 50 and 100 fly,won her semifinal heat in 26.34 seconds. She believes she can beeven faster in the final.

“I did a mistake, breathing three times instead oftwo,” she said. “I think I am going to do bettertomorrow. I am going to try to be faster and do my best.”

Mainville will be looking to add to her relay medal when shejoins Savard in the 50-fly final. Mainville’s time of 26.70seconds was the seventh fastest of the semifinals.

Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus had the fastest time of 26.09seconds.

In other finals, Marni Oldershaw of Oakville, Ont., finishedfifth in the 400 individual medley in a time of 4:44.47 while TinnaRissling, 20, of Medicine Hat, Alta., was sixth in 4:44.52. Russian’s Yana Martynova won the race in 4:39.02, then bowedto a cheering home-town crowd.

Oldershaw said she couldn’t help but get caught up in theemotion of the race.

“The last 50 metres everyone was going crazy,” saidthe Oldershaw, who sliced two seconds off her previous personalbest time. “I kind of had to take that energy and pretendthey were cheering for me.

“That was the best way to use the energy.”

Eric Hedlin, a 20-year-old who trains at the Victoria Academy ofSwimming, finished sixth in the men’s 400-metre freestyle ina time of 3:52.01. It was a close race won by Australia’sRyan Napoleon. His time of 3:48.96 was .07 ahead of Japan’sKohei Yamamoto.

Hedlin was pleased with his time but is looking forward toThursday’s 1,500-metre preliminaries.

“My first event of the meet is always my worst,”said the Calgary native who was raised in San Diego, Calif., butreturned to Canada after high school to train with coach RandyBennett in Victoria.

“This gets me focused for the rest of the meet. It’sgood to get my bad swim out of the way. This morning I was totallyoff in my tactics. I’m really happy with my racetonight.”

In other events, Russell Wood, 19, of Calgary just missedqualifying for the final of the men’s 100-metre backstroke.His time of 54.86 seconds left him ninth.

Richard Funk, 20, of Edmonton, reached the final of the100-metre breaststroke, finishing eighth in the preliminaries witha time of 1:01.25, while Geneviève Cantin, 22, of LacBeauport, Que., reached the final of the women’s 200-backwith a fifth-best time of 2:11.72.

Two Canadians will swim in the final of the men’s 50-metrebutterfly. Kelly Aspinall, 23, of Nanoose Bay, B.C., had the sixthbest time of 23.75 seconds while Coleman Allen, 20, of Vancouver,was eighth in 24.06.

The men’s 4×100-metre relay team of Allen, Tommy Gossland,24, of Nanaimo, B.C.; Chris Manning, 21, of Brantford, Ont.; andDominique Massie-Martel, 23, of Ottawa finished seventh in 3:20.50.Russia won the race in a Universiade record time of 3:10.88.

Swimming Canada has sent a 38-member team (19 men and 19 women)to Kazan. Canadian swimmers won three silver medals at the 2011Universiade in Shenzhen, China.

The swimming events can be viewed at www.fisu.tv.

Scott Harrigan
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