KAZAN, Russia – The podium was just a fingertip away for Canada’s swimmers in Friday’s third day of competition at the 2013 Summer Universiade.
Three Canadians finished an agonizing fourth in final events at the Aquatic Palace, leaving the team without a medal for the first time since the swim meet started. Meanwhile, Zack Chetrat of Oakville, Ont.
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.
Eric Hedlin, a 20-year-old who trains at the Victoria Academy of Swimming, was fourth in the men’s 1,500-metre freestyle, finishing in 15 minutes, 11.33 seconds. Sean Ryan of the United States won the race in 14:47.33.
Tera Van Beilen of Oakville, Ont., was second after the first 50 metres of the women’s 100-m breaststroke but faded to finish 0.22 back of third-place finisher Laura Sogar of the U.S. Russia’s Julia Efimova won the race in a Universiade record time of 1:05.48.
Being close wasn’t good enough for Van Beilen, who won two of the three silver medals Canada collected at the 2011 Universiade in Shenzhen, China.
“I’m not going to lie, I was pretty mad,” said the 20-year-old who was timed in 1:08.03. “That was an epic fail.
“I’m not going to dwell on it. That’s just part of swimming. You have good ones and you have bad ones. You have to get your mind back to the right place. I will try not to let it stick in my head.”
Sandrine Mainville of Boucherville, Que., was a little more positive about her fourth in the 100-m freestyle. She was satisfied with her personal best time of 54.87 seconds.
“I did a best time, so I am very happy about that,” said the 21-year-old who was part of Canada’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay team that won a bronze medal on Wednesday’s opening night.
“Tonight I was not nervous. I was not looking for a medal. I know when I think about that I’m too nervous.”
Mainville is one of 14 swimmers in Kazan who will also compete in the FINA World Championships later this month in Barcelona.
Chetrat’s time of 1:59.44 earned him the final spot in the 200-m fly. He believes he can challenge for the podium Saturday. Bence Biczo of Hungary had the fastest qualifying time of 1:57.83.
“I feel like there is still more in the tank,” said Chetrat. “I’ve tried to improve on the little things.
“My time isn’t what I want it to be. That doesn’t mean I can’t take away some things from each race. It’s still heading in the right direction.”
David Sharpe of Halifax failed to qualify, finishing sixth in his semifinal heat in a time of 1:59.99
Van Beilen, who also will race at the world championships, is also taking a positive attitude into Saturday’s 200-m breaststroke preliminaries.
“I really hate losing,” she said. “Now I’m more fired up not to lose again.”
Several other swimmers missed out on advancing to the final in their events.
Richard Funk, 20, of Edmonton was seventh (2:14.99) in his semifinal heat of the 200-m breaststroke. In the women’s 200-m individual medley Paige Shultz, 21, of Toronto was fifth in her heat in 2:15.54 while Katie Caldwell, 19, of White Rock, B.C., was eighth in 2:21.09.
In the 100-m backstroke both Brooklyn Snodgrass, 19, of Calgary (1:02.40) and Gabrielle Soucisse, 22, Notre-Dame De I’Ile-Perrot, Que. (1:02.32) missed the final eight.
Canada’s other swimming medal of the meet is a silver won by Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., in the 50-m butterfly. The 20-year-old will race the 100-m butterfly preliminaries Saturday. She is currently ranked second in the world at that distance.
Chetrat said not winning a medal Friday didn’t dampen the team’s spirit.
“We had great momentum the first day of the meet and we’ve really built on that,” he said.
“Tonight it didn’t go as well as we had hoped in a couple of races but it did in a couple of others. I’m just trying to build on the overall things of the evening and will put those into action tomorrow night.”
PHOTO: Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography