QUEBEC CITY — Promising 14-year-old freestyler Alexander Katelnikoff had a decisive victory on Sunday’s final day of indoor competition at the Canadian Age Group Championships.
At the Laval University Sports and Physical Education Pavilion (PEPS) aquatics centre, Katelnikoff captured the 14-year-old boys 400-metre freestyle in four minutes 10.78 seconds. The representative of Calgary’s Cascade Swim Club was more than 4½ seconds ahead of the Ontario-based podium finishers, Etobicoke Swimming Club’s Richie Stokes (4:15.42) and Markham Aquatic Club’s Owen Huang (4.15.73).
“I’m pretty happy with it,” said Katelnikoff, whose week also included an earlier gold in 200-m freestyle as well silver in 1,500-m and bronze in 800-m. “I think the time could have been faster, based on how I was feeling afterward. But the splits were how I wanted to split. I gave it 110 per cent. You can’t ask for anything more.
“I wasn’t worried about times coming in here,” Katelnikoff added. “I wanted to see how well I could place. I’m really excited about next week at nationals, getting the chance to go against some senior swimmers. I always like racing against people who are faster than me and people who will push me.”
Before he tests himself at the upcoming Canadian Swimming Championships, which begin Thursday at Pointe-Claire, Que., Katelnikoff will dip a toe into open-water swimming. Monday’s final day of the Age Groups includes open-water races at Lac-Beauport north of Quebec City. Katelnikoff said trying an open-water race was a motivator throughout his freestyle races.
“I’ve done triathlons here and there, but this is my first one,” he said. “I was signed up for it last year but then I had to leave that morning for another meet. I’m pretty excited. We’ve had some pretty hard sets in there. The more distance the better, you know? It’s something I’ve been looking forward to all weekend.”
I’m really excited about next week at nationals, getting the chance to go against some senior swimmers. I always like racing against people who are faster than me and people who will push me. — Alexander Katelnikoff
Alberta swimmers had a big night in the older age groups. Edmonton Keyano Swim Club’s Lili Margariti won 16- to 18-year-old girls 200-m individual medley in 2:18.24 to complete her IM double for the meet.
Rebecca Smith of Red Deer Catalina Swimming Club won 15-year-old girls 200-m individual medley in an even 2:19 for her third gold. Smith, 15, also earned six silvers at the meet.
Other notable multiple gold medallists include:
Tai Long Singh of the Winskill Dolphins won 15-year-old boys 50-m butterfly in 24.91 seconds, bringing his individual gold-medal tally from the week to six. On Sunday, Singh’s Winskill teammate, Paul Zou, also won 16-year-old boys 400-m freestyle in 4:04.01.
Cambridge Aquajets’ Rachael Anderson, with a winning swim of 2:23.39 in 14-year-old 200-m IM, secured her fourth gold.
In the 13-year-old girls division, Halifax Trojan Aquatic Club’s Jade Hannah won 50-m butterfly in 28.55 seconds for her sixth gold of the week. Hannah swept backstroke and butterfly at 50, 100 and 200-m.
Two fellow 13-year-olds, Ladysmith-Chemainus Swim Club’s Faith Knelson (2:22.70 in girls) and Kenora Swimming Sharks’ Gabe Mastromatteo (2:17.18 in boys) earned their respective fifth golds of the meet by virtue of 200-m IM victories. Mastromatteo also completed an IM double.
Monday’s open water competition begins with 2,500-m races for 12- and 13-year-olds at 9:30 a.m. EDT. The 5,000-m events for athletes aged 14-18 are set for 11 a.m.