Festival of fourth-place finishes for Canada

swim canada-2

Michel Belanger

July 16, 2013, KAZAN, Russia (Courtesy of Swimming Canada) (ISN) – So close. Canadian swimmers just missed the podium four times in Tuesday’s final day of pool events at the 2013 Summer Universiade. Katerine Savard, Brittany MacLean, Alec Page and the women’s 4×100-metre medley relay all finished fourth, a medal dangling agonizingly just out of their grasp.

Page, who battled to the last in the 400m individual medley, was philosophical.

“Fourth is bittersweet,” said the 19-year-old from Cortes Island, B.C. “It just means we’re not that far away from a medal and not that far from the top of the podium.”

It was a tough last day for Savard, of Pont-Rouge, Que. The 20-year-old missed earning her third individual medal in the 200m butterfly, then was part of the relay.

“It was a hard night,” she said. “I’m not used to racing that much.

“I think I have to learn and train more. I will work on that.”

The meet ends Wednesday with four Canadians competing in the open water swim.

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

Team Canada Twitter: @CDNUniversiade | #gocanada

Summer Universiade website: www.kazan2013.com/en

Canadian swimmers have won five medals during the competition. Savard earned a gold in the 100m butterfly and silver in the 50 fly, where she broke her own Canadian record. Eric Hedlin won bronze in the 800m freestyle. Canada also won bronze in the women’s 4×100 and 4x200m freestyle relay.

Savard led after 150 metres of the 200-m fly but ran out of gas in the stretch. Her time of two minutes, 11.02 seconds left her .38 behind bronze medallist Yana Martnova of Russia. Japan’s Kona Fujita, who was fifth half way through the race, powered through the final 100 metres to win in 2:09.66.

“I didn’t swim really well in the semifinals,” said Savard. “I just tried tonight. I started really fast, that’s what I’m used to doing. The last 50 metres was really hard.”

Stephanie Horner, 24, of Beaconsfield, Que., was eighth in 2:17.00.

Savard, a member of Canada’s 2012 Summer Olympic team, was still pleased about winning her first international medals and setting a Universiade record in the 100 fly.

“I could not be more happy,” she said.

The last Canadian to win three individual medals at a Universiade was Alex Baumann who had two golds (200 and 400 IM) and a bronze (200 freestyle) in 1983 in Edmonton.

In the 400m IM, Page was in medal position after 100 metres before slipping to fourth. He finished in 4:18:56. American Michael Weiss won in 4:12.00, a Universiade record.

Looking back, Page knows where he lost time.

“A little here, a little there, I could have got a medal,” he said. “I was just off my best time. I was hoping to get a medal tonight.”

MacLean was fifth after 300 metres in the 400-m freestyle before making a charge down the stretch. She finished in 4:08.95, just .08 behind bronze medallist Caitlin McClatchey of the U.S. Italy’s Martina De Memme won in 4:07.89.

Savannah King, 21, of Vernon, B.C., was fifth in 4:10.48.

For MacLean, the 400-m freestyle was almost a repeat of Monday’s 200m free where she finished fourth behind McClatchey. MacLean still earned two relay bronze medals despite dealing with a shoulder problem and a hamstring injury suffered at the World Championship team trials in April.

Savard’s strong butterfly in the third leg had the relay team in contention for bronze. The squad of Brooklyn Snodgrass of Calgary, Tera Van Beilen of Oakville, Ont., Savard and Sandrine Mainville of Boucherville, Que., touched the wall in 4:03.44. That left them just .73 behind the U.S.

Russia won the race in 3:58.04, slicing over a second off the old Universiade record.

In other finals, Manville, 21, finished eighth in the 50-m freestyle in 25.46 seconds. Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus won in a Universiade record time of 24.48.

Tianna Rissling of Redcliff, Alta., was sixth in the 50-m breaststroke in 31.56 seconds. Russia’s Iulia Efimova won in a Universiade record 30.12 seconds.

The men’s 4×100-m medley relay team of Russell Wood of Calgary, Richard Funk of Edmonton, Coleman Allan of Barrie, Ont., and Dominique Massie-Martel of Ottawa finished sixth in 3:42.22. Russia won gold in 3:34.27.

Savard, MacLean and Page are among the 14 swimmers who will also race at the FINA World Championships which begin later this month in Barcelona, Spain.