RIO – Canada’s Hilary Caldwell admitted she had visions of gold but beamed with pride when her bronze was hung around her neck on Friday night following a third place finish in the women’s 200-m backstroke at the Olympic Games.
It was Canada’s sixth swimming medal at the Games (one gold, one silver and four bronze).
Maya Dirado opened a triple gold evening for the U.S. clocking two minutes and 05.99 seconds. She edged Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, vying for a fourth gold, second in 2:06.05. Caldwell, from White Rock, B.C., clocked 2:07.54, short of her Canadian record 2:06.80 set in a bronze medal performance at the 2013 World Championships.
‘’In the end it’s about the race so I can’t be too upset, I’m on the podium,’’ said Caldwell. ‘’I was happy with the bronze medal but I wanted the gold. I felt a 2:05 time was in me and I think made a little scowl when I saw my time.’’
‘’IN THE END IT’S ABOUT THE RACE SO I CAN’T BE TOO UPSET, I’M ON THE PODIUM,’’ SAID CALDWELL. ‘’I WAS HAPPY WITH THE BRONZE MEDAL BUT I WANTED THE GOLD. I FELT A 2:05 TIME WAS IN ME AND I THINK MADE A LITTLE SCOWL WHEN I SAW MY TIME.’’
Caldwell, 25, needed to wait until almost the end of the swimming competition to race her event. She was definitely eager to contribute to the Canadian success. In addition, she assured Canada had a medal in both women’s backstrokes. Kylie Masse took bronze in the 100-m back.
‘’I’ve seen six days of girls swimming absolutely lights out fast,’’ she said. ‘’I was there last night when Penny (Oleksiak) was on top of the podium. I’m glad to be a part of that for sure. The 200 back is usually near the end of most competitions so I’m use to it.’’
Caldwell’s coach Ryan Mallette was delighted with her performance.
‘’She won an Olympic medal and I thought that was absolutely fantastic,’’ he said. ‘’Every swimmer aspires to be the best they can be and you always want to take that one step forward in the final.’’
John Atkinson, Swimming Canada’s high performance director says the medal performance is a great accomplishment for Caldwell.
‘’Hilary had a sensational swim to get on the podium,’’ said Atkinson. ‘’She probably wanted more from the time but an Olympic medal is worth more than any time.’’
In the women’s 50-m freestyle semis, Chantal Van Landeghem of Winnipeg placed 10th and doesn’t advance to Saturday’s final. Van Landeghem is expected to be on Canada’s 4X100-m medley relay final Saturday night.
‘’I’m really pumped for the relay,’’ said Van Landeghem, a member of Canada’s 4X100 freestyle relay bronze team. ‘’We’ve got a great bunch of girls and I’m really excited about what we can do tomorrow night.’’
Swimming in the pool concludes Saturday evening with four finals featuring Ryan Cochrane of Victoria in the men’s 1500-m freestyle and the women’s 4X100-m medley relay in which Penny Oleksiak of Toronto will vie for a Canadian Summer Games record fifth medal.
Oleksiak has won gold in the 100-m freestyle, silver in the 100-m butterfly and helped Canada to bronze in the 4X100-m freestyle and 4X200-m freestyle relays.
Canada has reached 15 swimming finals this week more than double the seven in London in 2012 and the most since the 1988 Games.
The finals start at 9 p.m. (EDT).