Savard earns silver medal while two Canadian records fall

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KAZAN, Russia – It was a hit and a near miss as Canadian swimmers turned in record-breaking performances during Thursday’s second day of the swimming competition at the 2013 Summer Universiade.

Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., added to Canada’s medal count in the pool by wining silver in the women’s 50-metre butterfly. The 20-year-old claimed her first international medal in a time of 26.05 seconds and broke her own Canadian record of 26.20 she set in June.

“It was close,” said Savard, who also swam at last year’s Summer Olympics in London. “I beat my own record (so) I am more happy about that.

“It’s a good feeling to race in the big pool in international events.”

Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus won the race in 25.84 seconds. Two Italian swimmers – Elena Gemo and Silvia Di Pietro – tied for third in 26.28. Sandrine Mainville, 21, of Boucherville, Que., was eighth in 26.85.

Swimming Canada has sent a 38-member team (19 men and 19 women) to Kazan. The swimming events run through July 17 and can be viewed at http://www.livefisu.tv/ with results posted at http://kazan2013.ru

The medal was Canada’s second of the meet after the women’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay team won bronze Wednesday. Savard has the potential to add to that total. She is ranked second in the world in the 100-metre fly, which begins Saturday.

“I will try to do my best time,” said Savard. “I can not control what the other swimmers are going to do. I will see if I can win another medal.”

Canada won three silver medals at the 2011 Universiade in Shenzhen, China.

Kelly Aspinall just missed the podium in the 50-metre butterfly. The 23-year-old from Nanoose Bay, B.C., finished fourth in a Canadian record time of 23.52 seconds, just .14 behind third place. His time bettered the old mark of 23.66 set by Thomas Kindler back in July 2009.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” said Aspinall, who has come close to breaking the record several times. “I wanted to get the medal first of all. To miss out on it by that much was kind of frustrating.

“At about 40 metres I was aware of where the race was. I knew it was going to be a good swim. I didn’t know how fast it was going to be but I knew it was going to be a good one.”

In a strange twist, the race finished in a tie with Andrii Govorov of the Ukraine and Yauhen Tsurkin of Belarus being clocked in an identical 23.28. Italy’s Piero Codia was third in 23.38.

“There are a few things I could have fixed,” said Aspinall. “Overall it was a pretty good race but not quite perfect. Perfection is always hard to find.”

Coleman Allen, 20, of Vancouver, was eighth in 24.28 seconds.

In other finals Genevieve Cantin, 22, of Lac Beauport, Que., was fifth in the 200-metre backstroke in two minutes, 11.78 seconds. Australia’s Madison Wilson won in 2:09.22.

Edmonton’s Richard Funk was frustrated after finishing eighth in the 100-metre breaststroke in 1:01.35. The gold went to Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki who was clocked in one minute.

“It’s a little disappointing to come to a meet like this and not go a best time,’ said the 20-year-old Funk. “I have to keep taking things in stride and know I have a lot more races. There is still time to improve.

“Overall, tonight wasn’t my night.”

Canadian swimmers will the chance for more medals Friday.

Mainville advanced to the final of the 100-metre freestyle after placing fourth in the semifinals with a time of 54.52 seconds. Caroline Lapierre-Lemire, 22, of Temiscamingue Que., just missed, finishing ninth in 55.91.

Tera Van Beilen will battle for gold in the 100 breaststroke after finishing third in her semifinal heat in 1:08.54.

“I wasn’t too happy with my time this morning,” said the 20-year-old from Oakville, Ont., who now trains in Vancouver. “Typically, the way I race, I get faster and faster.

“That makes me excited to race tomorrow night. That gives me a bit of confidence.”

Eric Hedlin, a 20-year-old who trains at the Victoria Academy of Swimming, advanced to the 1,500-metres finals with a time of 15:18.31.

Van Beilen said winning medals early in the meet has fed the confidence of the Canadian team.

“A team that can succeed and win medals, it makes you more amped to race faster and harder for your country,” said Van Beilen, who along with Savard will also race at the FINA World Championships later this month. “The team is really positive.”

PHOTO: Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography

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