BARCELONA – Another Canadian record fell on a night of near misses for Canada at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona Sunday.
The women’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay team of Victoria Poon, Sandrine Mainville, Chantal van Landeghem and Samantha Cheverton lowered the mark they set in the morning by nearly a full second with a time of 3:37.09. Despite smashing the national standard, Canada had to settle for fifth in a fast race that saw the U.S.
“The atmosphere was pretty intense and it was a lot of fun. Just this group of girls was pretty amazing and I think that we knew we could do something pretty special tonight. It was a lot of fun,” said Landeghem.
The 19-year-old Winnipeg native was the fastest of the four, swimming the third leg in 53.57.
“It feels great. After this morning I wasn’t sure how much more we could lower it so to lower it by another full second is amazing. I’m really proud of all of us”
The relay was one of two close calls for Canada in the first night of finals. Victoria’s Ryan Cochrane came fourth in the men’s 400-m freestyle, finishing just out of the medals at 3:45.02, 0.17 behind American Connor Jaeger. Reigning Olympic champion Sun Yang was the winner in 3:41.59, followed by Japan’s Kosuke Hagino at 3:44.82.
“Coming fourth is disappointing,” said Cochrane, who is also aiming for medals in the 800-m and 1,500-m freestyle. “I felt really good this morning and I guess the positive is to take that going forward. The 800 was definitely my focus this meet, so I’m going to keep that as a confidence booster for that race.”
In other evening action, Canada’s fly girls both advanced to Monday’s final in 100-m butterfly. Noemie Thomas of Richmond, B.C., and Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., posted nearly identical times, with Thomas qualifying fifth at 57.99 and Savard sixth at an even 58.00. Savard had bested her own national record in the morning with a heat swim of 57.31.
“I think it’s really encouraging for the both of us because we’re really within international times and we’ve been kind of progressing together at the same rate and doing well at the same swim meets. I think we’re able to push each other and just encourage each other along the way,” said the 17-year-old Thomas.
“I’m just going to go in there and have fun. It’s my first (senior) international final so my coach Tom (Johnson) said to just be in the moment and do what I think is going to make the difference from my semifinal to final so I can lift and improve the times.”
Meanwhile, world championships rookie Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson of Ottawa swam in her first ever semifinal, finishing 16th in the 200-m individual medley at 2:16.12.
Head Coach Randy Bennett called the Day 1 results “a very good start.”
“We have seven days of the meet and we need to have a sense of pace but we also need to build on the success we had,” Bennett said. Bennett credited new National Swim Centre – Ontario coach Ben Titley, a member of the national team staff who oversaw the relay team.
“The contribution of Ben Titley has been significant,” Bennett said. “I think he’s helped out, bringing the girls together and really understanding the importance of the finals is significant.”
Canada has sent a 34-member team (17 men, 17 women) to the world championships. Action in the pool continues through Sunday at Palau Sant Jordi. Swimming Canada’s broadcast partner Sportsnet will be compiling a one-hour highlight show from the finals sessions from all eight days of the championships.