TORONTO – Ryan Cochrane of Victoria and Emily Overholt of West Vancouver each won a gold medal in the 400-m freestyle on Friday in swimming action at the Pan Am Games.
Overholt produced a Pan Am Games record clocking four minutes and 08.42 seconds in her victory out of lane eight. Andreina Pinto of Venezuela was second in 4:08.67 and Gillian Ryan of the U.S. third in 4:09.46.
“I wanted to be in the lead from the beginning so I could see everybody from the outside and I really had nothing to lose, so I went for it and I tried to hold it for as long as possible,’’ said Overholt, 17.
On Thursday, Overholt had touched first in the 400-m individual medley but was disqualified for a non-simultaneous touch.
“Last night was heartbreaking,’’ she said.
‘’I wanted to win so badly to make up for it. I really tried to put it behind me because I knew I had another chance at the medal and that was the most important thing, that was the only thing I could focus on.”
— Emily Overholt
“One of the things that I say to the team is, things happen. It’s not that things happen that’s the issue, it’s how you fix the things that happen. Emily Overholt was a prime example of that. She was on an emotional rollercoaster last night, dealt with adversity, did the relay, dusted herself down, got through to the final this morning,” said Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson.
“Tonight she came in, stood up and did a tremendous swim. They’re the sort of moments that define swimmers, and she can now move forward from the experience that she’s had here. She’s a world-class athlete and there’s more to come from her.”
In the men’s race, Cochrane won by a body length in a Games record three minutes and 48.29 seconds with Ryan Feeley of the U.S. second in 3:49.69 and Leonardo De Deus of Brazil third in 3:50.30. Jeremy Bagshaw of Victoria was fifth.
“Man it feels good to win a medal,’’ said Cochrane. “It’s been a year of many ups and downs. To come here and actually swim a decent time, I think that was what the goal.”
“Consummate professional,” Atkinson said. “We know he’s working through this meet and working towards Kazan but to come here and stand on the podium in the gold medal position shows what a true professional he really is.”
Tabitha Baumann of Edmonton won the B Final for ninth overall.
Canada collected a pair of bronze medals in the 100-m breaststroke. Rachel Nicol of Lethbridge, Alta., was third in the women’s race with Tera Van Beilen of Oakville, Ont., fourth. Richard Funk of Edmonton was third in the men’s race behind two Brazilians.
“Rachel Nicol in the 100 breaststroke went a lifetime best this morning in the heats and backed up again tonight with a great effort to get on the podium. The final medal, which makes him a double medallist at this meet, Richard Funk has been steadily improving year on year. He did a great 200 earlier in the week and now backs it up with getting on the podium.”
In the women’s 100-m backstroke, Dominique Bouchard of North Bay, Ont., and Hilary Caldwell of Surrey, B.C., were fourth and fifth while in the men’s 100-backstroke Russell Wood of Calgary was fourth and Markus Thormeyer of Delta, B.C., seventh.
Chantal Van Landeghem of Winnipeg and Michelle Williams of North York, Ont., were fourth and sixth in the women’s 50-m freestyle. Alex Loginov of Toronto was eighth in the men’s 50 free.
Canada is third in the swimming medal standings with seven gold, nine silver and seven bronze. The U.S. is first at 9-7-9 and Brazil second at 8-5-8. The swimming competition ends Saturday.