TORONTO – Canadian swimmers produced two gold-silver finishes on Wednesday at the Pan Am Games.
Kierra Smith of Kelowna, B.C., and Martha McCabe of Toronto were 1-2 in a heated women’s 200-m breaststroke final while Hilary Caldwell of Victoria, and Dominique Bouchard of North Bay, Ont., did the same in the 200-m backstroke.
Canada ended the evening with six more medals (two gold-four silver) and awaits the result of a protest to find out if a seventh will be silver or bronze.
In the women’s 200-m breaststroke, Smith lowered the Games record in both the preliminaries and final clocking two minutes and 24.38 seconds. McCabe won the silver in 2:24.51 and Annie Lazor of the U.S. was third in 2:26.23.
“It was a really fun race tonight and I usually go faster in finals and try to enjoy the race,’’ said Smith. “It’s unreal, I am so happy right now, this is the coolest experience I’ve ever had.”
McCabe was also ecstatic with the 1-2 finish.
“It was awesome,’’ she said. ‘’It was difficult to contain my emotions and excitement during finals. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m loving it.”
Caldwell, the world championship bronze medallist in 2013, also broke the Games record in 2:08.22. Bouchard followed in 2:09.78 and Clara Smiddy of the U.S. third in 2:11.47.
Richard Funk of Edmonton produced a powerful last length to win the silver medal in the men’s 200-m breaststroke in a personal best 2:11.51. Thiago Simon dominated the race winning in 2:09.82. James Dergousoff of Christina Lake, B.C., was third in the B final for 11th overall.
In the women’s 200-m freestyle, Olympic champion Allison Schmitt of the U.S. took the gold in a Games record 1:56.23. Emily Overholt of West Vancouver followed in 1:57.55, Manuella Lyrio for Brazil third in 1:58.03 and Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., fourth in 1:58.70. Both Canadians set personal best times.
“I tried to swim my own race, I just gave everything I had in my last 50 metres after I saw how close I was, and I am really happy with my results,’’ said Overholt. “It’s amazing to be in a home crowd which I’ve never done before. Everyone cheering for you is an amazing feeling.’’
Canada thought it had a fifth silver earned in unusual fashion by the men’s 4×200-m freestyle relay. Canada had initially placed third but the second place U.S. foursome was disqualified after one of their swimmers raced with two fingers bandaged together.
Brazil won the gold in 7:11.15, Canada followed in 7:17.33 with Alec Page, Jeremy Bagshaw, Stefan Milosevic and Ryan Cochrane. Page, Bagshaw and Cochrane are form Victoria and Milosevic from Burnaby, B.C. The U.S. protested the result and no medal was presented.
“The team backed up from the first night of competition very well, got six medals on the board and the men’s 4×200 freestyle relay team is going to be decided and medals presented tomorrow so we will be seven medals when that’s all sorted out. I think that having the double double tonight was great for Canada. The ladies certainly stepped up to perform exceptionally well to get those four medals on the board. Richard Funk obviously swam a personal best time to get on the podium in the 200 breaststroke,” said Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson.
“And Emily Overholt continued to improve her 200 freestyle event. Anchoring the 4×200 freestyle relay at Commonwealth Games, making the team in an individual event and then dropping another best time tonight in the 200 freestyle shows there’s more to come from her. Two ladies in the final in the top four, Katerine with a best time, puts the relay into really good contention for when they get together tomorrow.
“Things are continuing to move in the right direction with athletes improving from Trials to the Games here. We’ve got three days to go and I’m sure we’ll continue in this vein.”
Meanwhile, Russell Wood of Calgary was fifth in the men’s 100-m backstroke. In the men’s 200-m freestyle, Jeremy Bagshaw was seventh while fellow Victorian Alec Page won the B final for ninth overall.
Competition continues Thursday.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m loving it”