DUBAI, UAE – Fifteen-year-old Emily Overholt of West Vancouver won the bronze medal Monday in the women’s 400-metre individual medley to highlight a strong start for Canada at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships.
Ella Eastin led the U.S. to a 1-2 finish with gold in a meet record four minutes and 40.02 seconds. Rebecca Mann was second in 4:40.26 and Overholt won a battle for third spot on the last length clocking a personal best 4:42.03.
It was also a Canadian age group record for Overholt eclipsing the previous 15-17 standard of 4:42.71 set by senior national team member Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson of Ottawa earlier this year.
Emu Higuchi of Japan who gradually gained ground on Overholt after a slow start was fourth in 4:42.82. Sydney Pickrem, a Canadian who resides in Oldsmar, Florida, was sixth.
“I’m definitely surprised but excited by this medal,” said Overholt, who went five seconds faster than her preliminary time which had seeded her fifth for the final. “I could see the Japanese girl beside me and I think my training just kicked in at the end to help me get third.”
Overholt’s coach Janusz Kaczmarek said she fully deserves her reward.
“Emily is a very determined girl and very focused,” he said. “She wanted to get that medal. We started preparing for this six months ago and she worked very hard this summer. She came into these worlds very well prepared.”
Overholt also clocked a personal best time to lead off Canada’s 4X200-metre freestyle relay which placed fourth in 8:06.88 just over a second from third place Russia. Also on the relay were Pickrem, Lili Margitai of Edmonton and Kennedy Goss of Toronto.
Canada was also fourth in the men’s 4X100-m freestyle relay with Bryce Kwiecen-Delaney of Hamilton, Evan White of Oakville, Stefan Milosevic of Vancouver and Yuri Kisil of Calgary.
In Monday’s other final, Teddy Kalp of Concord, Ont., was eighth in the men’s 400-m freestyle.
In semifinals, Goss qualified eighth for Tuesday’s women’s 100-m backstroke final.
Canada has fielded a 28-member team for these championships held every two years.
Competition turns until Saturday.
Full results, schedule and start lists at: http://dubai2013.coloradotime.com/