Victoria pair post sixth-place finishes at worlds


DOHA, Qatar – Canada had its best results so far at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25)m Friday in Doha, Qatar.

Two athletes from the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Victoria turned in sixth-place finishes on Day 3 of the five-day meet

Ryan Cochrane went 3:39.29 in the men’s 400-m freestyle, just 0.19 off his national record pace.

“It’s just over my best time, which was set at the end of the summer (in 2009) so to be in that kind of shape only a couple months into the season is awesome,” Cochrane said.

Meanwhile Hilary Caldwell touched the wall in 2:03.06 in the women’s 200-m backstroke, a race that saw Hungarian Katinka Hosszu set a new world record of 1:59.23.

“I was hoping for a personal best tonight,” said Caldwell, who was a half-second off her time from last year’s World Cup stop in Eindhoven, Netherlands. “I was faster than prelims and it’s early in the season so it’s encouraging to be so close but it does mean I have lots of work to do.”

Canada had one other second swim Friday as Kierra Smith of Kelowna, B.C., finished 11th in the women’s 100-m breaststroke semifinals. The 20-year-old won a swim-off to qualify in 16th, then smashed her personal best for the second time in a day with a 1:05.57 in her semi.

“I am very excited for the 200-m event in two days as it’s my best event,” Smith said. “I have confidence that I can race these girls. I am good to go for the 200.”

Calgary’s Russell Wood also set a personal best in the morning heats, with a 23.93 in the men’s 50-m backstroke.

The five-day meet continues Saturday with nine events, including the women’s 100-m butterfly. Katerine Savard and Audrey Lacroix of Pont-Rouge, Que., will be in action for Canada. Savard, the national record holder, will be looking to make the final after finishing 15th in the 50-m fly on Thursday. In Wednesday’s 200-m event Savard was 13th, Lacroix 14th.