Zakala, Lawrance among winners at age group nationals open water

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WINNIPEG – With five days of racing under their belts, Josh Zakala of Kelowna, B.C., and Erin Lawrance of Victoria found the energy to win their respective five kilometre open water events on Monday to conclude the Canadian Age Group Championships swimming competition.

Zakala took the boys 16-year-old age group gold in 43 minutes and 32 seconds at the St.Malo Provincial Park venue.

Dumitru Lunga of Etobicoke Swimming was second in 43:38.13 and Brian Palaschuk of Regina was third in 43:40.87.

‘’Happy but tired,’’ said Zakala, the 1500-m freestyle, 800-m freestyle and the 200-m individual medley winner in the pool portion of the competition.  ‘’I maintained a consistent race.  The sighting was hard at times and I tended to go off course. ‘’

Zakala is preparing for the FINA World Junior Open Water Championships set for August 28-30 in Hungary.

The other winners in boys competition included Benito Di Nizio of Etobicoke in the 14-year-old age group, Ethan Phillips of Kamloops in the 15-year-olds and Tim Woinoski of Burnaby, B.C., in the 17-18 category.

In the girls 14-year-old five kilometre race, Lawrance took top spot in one hour and 11 minutes and 37 seconds.  Mélanie Imbeau of Montreal was second in 1:12:01.90 and Sydney Haygarth of Regina third in 1:13:16.71.

‘’This is something I’ve waited for a long time to accomplish,’’ said Lawrance, who started open water swimming at age 10.  ‘’I made sure not to use too much energy in the first half of the race.  At the third lap I decided to go for it.’’

Other girls winners included Isabel Sarty of Halifax in the 15-year-old category and Jane MacDougall of Winnipeg in the 16-18 age group.  Madison Archer took the girls 12 and under 2.5 kilometre.

Racing resumes on Tuesday and Wednesday for the age group swimmers with the inaugural Youth Dual Meet at the Pan Am Pool in Winnipeg.

Full results: https://www.swimming.ca/liveresults/2014cagc/

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