KAZAN, Russia – Katerine Savard was golden Sunday on a night where Canadian swimmers won two medals at the 2013 Summer Universiade.
Savard, of Pont-Rouge, Que., won the 100-metre butterfly in a Universiade record time of 57.63 seconds to earn Canada’s first gold medal of the swim competition. Canada improved its swimming medal count to five with Eric Hedlin taking bronze in the 800-m freestyle in seven minutes, 53.78 seconds.
Brittany MacLean of Etobicoke, Ont., advanced to Monday’s final 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 viewed at http://www.livefisu.tv/ with results posted at http://kazan2013.ru.
It was Savard’s second medal of the meet after winning silver in the 50-metre butterfly, breaking her own Canadian record. She shook off some pre-race nerves to lead from the start and finished 1.35 seconds ahead of silver medallist Fan Gou of China.
“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 in the 100-fly, said the week has been a good learning experience.
“I’ve learned a lot and I think I still have a lot of things to learn, like how to control the pressure,” said Savard, who will swim the 200-m butterfly preliminaries Monday. “I did a good progression this year. In the last three months I did three times under 58 seconds. I’m pretty consistent, so that’s a good point for me.”
Hedlin, a 20-year-old who trains at the Victoria Academy of Swimming, was close to a medal in the 1,500 metres, finishing fourth. He overcome that frustration by swimming a personal best time Sunday.
“That’s a big best time for me,” he said. “In the 1,500 I wanted to medal and was disappointed when I didn’t. I was happy I could come back and prove I still could swim fast at a big event like this.”
Hedlin was fourth after 200 metres but climbed into third spot around 400 metres. He then fought off a late challenge from American Sean Ryan, who had won the 1,500.
Hedlin is one of 14 Canadians who will compete at the FINA World Championships which begin later this month in Barcelona, Spain. His Universiade results will help prepare him for the five-kilometre and 10-kilometre events at the World Championships.
“It gives me confidence to swim those events,” he said. “It’s really important to have closing speed in the 10-k.”
Canada has also has won bronze medals in the women’s 4×100-m and 4×200-m freestyle relays. Canadian swimmers won three silver medals at the 2011 Universiade in Shenzhen, China.
MacLean, who is dealing with a shoulder problem and a hamstring injury suffered at the World Championship team trials in April, won her semifinal heat in the 200-m freestyle in 1:59.68. Russia’s Veronika Popova had the fastest qualifying time of 1:58.72.
“I was happy with it,” said the 19-year-old who was seventh 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 to tomorrow.”
King advance to the 800-m final with a time of 8:40.78 in the preliminaries.
Lindsay Delmar, 20, of Calgary failed to advance after finishing seventh in her semifinal 2:00.92. MacLean has swam on both medal-winning relays while Delmar was a member of the 4×200-m team.
Tera Van Beilen, who finished a frustrating fourth in Friday’s 100-m breaststroke, was hoping for some redemption in the 200-m breast final but finished sixth in 2:27.64. The 20-year-old, who is battling the flu, was second after 50 metres and third half way through the race, but ran out of gas down the stretch. Russia’s Iulia Efimova won in 2:24.10
In other semifinals, Coleman Allen, 20, of Vancouver, failed to advance to the 100-m butterfly final after finishing seventh in his heat in 53.25 seconds. Russell Wood and Gleb Suvorov, both of Calgary, also didn’t move on in the 200-m backstroke final. Wood finished fifth in the semifinal in 2:02.11 followed by Suvorov who was sixth in 2:02.73.
Jason Block of Calgary missed the 50-m breaststroke final after finishing sixth in his semifinal in 28.24 seconds.
MacLean said the Canadian team is riding a wave of emotion into the final three days of the meet.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “Every time I walk out (on the deck) I look over to the stands and there’s a massive crowd of red.
“Everyone is getting excited together and it’s making us get a lot better as a team. It’s easier for each individual to succeed when we are working together. It’s a really positive atmosphere.”