Universiade (swimming): Savard golden, Hedlin wins bronze at the pool

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KAZAN, Russia (Courtesy of Swimming Canada) – KaterineSavard was golden Sunday on a night where Canadian swimmers won twomedals at the 2013 Summer Universiade.

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

Team Canada Twitter: @CDNUniversiade |#gocanada

Summer Universiade website:www.kazan2013.com/en

Savard, of Pont-Rouge, Que., won the 100-metre butterfly in aUniversiade record time of 57.63 seconds to earn Canada’sfirst gold medal of the swim competition.

The previous FISU Gamesmark of 57.86 had been set in 2011 by Lu Ying of China.

Canada improved its swimming medal count to five with EricHedlin taking bronze in the 800-m freestyle in seven minutes, 53.78seconds.

Brittany MacLean of Etobicoke, Ont., advanced to Monday’sfinal of the 200-m freestyle while Savannah King of Vernon, B.C.,will look for the podium in the 800-m freestyle.

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 viewedat http://www.livefisu.tv/ with results posted at http://kazan2013.ru.

It was Savard’s second medal of the meet after winningsilver in the 50-metre butterfly in Canadian record time. She shookoff some pre-race nerves to lead from the start and finished 1.35seconds ahead of silver medallist Fan Guo of China (58.98), who,like Savard, competed at the 2012 Olympics.

“With the pressure and everything, I’m happy,”said Savard, who is ranked second in the world in the 100-m fly.“It was good stress.”

The 20-year-old, who holds the Canadian record of 57.40 in theevent, said the week has been a good learning experience.

“I’ve learned a lot and I think I still have a lotof things to learn, like how to control the pressure,” saidSavard, who will swim the 200-m butterfly preliminaries Monday.“I did a good progression this year. In the last three monthsI did three times under 58 seconds. I’m pretty consistent, sothat’s a good point for me.”

Hedlin, a 20-year-old who trains at the Victoria Academy ofSwimming, was close to a medal in the 1,500 metres, finishingfourth. He overcame that frustration by swimming a personal besttime Sunday.

“That’s a big best time for me,” he said.“In the 1,500 I wanted to medal and was disappointed when Ididn’t. I was happy I could come back and prove I still could swimfast at a big event like this.”

Hedlin was fourth after 200 metres but climbed into third spotaround 400 metres. He then fought off a late challenge fromAmerican Sean Ryan, who had won the 1,500.

Hedlin is one of 14 Canadians who will compete at the FINA WorldChampionships which begin later this month in Barcelona, Spain. HisUniversiade results will help prepare him for the five-kilometreand 10-kilometre events at the Worlds.

“It gives me confidence to swim those events,” hesaid. “It’s really important to have closing speed inthe 10-k.”

Canada has also has won bronze medals in the women’s4x100-m and 4×200-m freestyle relays. Canadian swimmers won threesilver medals at the 2011 Universiade in Shenzhen, China.

MacLean, who is dealing with a shoulder problem and a hamstringinjury suffered at the World Championship team trials in April, wonher semifinal heat in the 200-m freestyle in 1:59.68. Russia’s Veronika Popova had the fastest qualifying time of1:58.72.

“I was happy with it,” said the 19-year-old who wasseventh in the 400-m freestyle at last summer’s Olympic Games.“It’s nice to win the heat.

“I feel pretty strong. I’m looking forward totomorrow.”

King advance to the 800-m final with a time of 8:40.78 in thepreliminaries.

Lindsay Delmar, 20, of Calgary failed to advance after finishingseventh in her semifinal 2:00.92. MacLean has swam on bothmedal-winning relays while Delmar was a member of the 4×200-mteam.

Tera Van Beilen, who finished a frustrating fourth inFriday’s 100-m breaststroke, was hoping for some redemptionin the 200-m breast final but finished sixth in 2:27.64. The20-year-old, who is battling the flu, was second after 50 metresand third half way through the race, but ran out of gas down thestretch. Russia’s Iulia Efimova won in 2:24.10

In other semifinals, Coleman Allen, 20, of Vancouver, failed toadvance to the 100-m butterfly final after finishing seventh in hisheat in 53.25 seconds. Russell Wood and Gleb Suvorov, both ofCalgary, also didn’t move on in the 200-m backstroke final. Woodfinished fifth in the semifinal in 2:02.11 followed by Suvorov whowas sixth in 2:02.73.

Jason Block of Calgary missed the 50-m breaststroke final afterfinishing sixth in his semifinal in 28.24 seconds.

MacLean said the Canadian team is riding a wave of emotion intothe final three days of the meet.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “Every time Iwalk out (on the deck) I look over to the stands and there’sa massive crowd of red.

“Everyone is getting excited together and it’smaking us get a lot better as a team. It’s easier for eachindividual to succeed when we are working together. It’s areally positive atmosphere.”

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