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Gold for Ruck, silver for Oleksiak caps great junior worlds for Canada

2015 FINA World Juniors, Features –

SINGAPORE – Canadians Taylor Ruck and Penny Oleksiak  earned gold and silver Sunday to each cap remarkable international breakthroughs this week at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships.

In the women’s 200-m freestyle, Ruck won a third gold medal.  The 15-year-old Kelowna, B.C., native clocked a meet record and personal best one minute and 57.87 seconds for her sixth medal of the competition. Arina Openysheva of Russia was second in 1:58.28 and Hannah Cox of the U.S. third at 1:59.28.

‘’I felt that it was a good performance,’’ said Ruck, now based in Arizona.  ‘’However I kind of wish that I could have gotten a 1:57 low, because I know I had done a better time on my relay leg (earlier this week).’’

Like Ruck, Oleksiak finished with six medals including a silver in the women’s 100-m butterfly in a personal best 58.50. Rikako Ikee of Japan took the gold in 58.28.

‘’I think I paced it very well and really sped up the last 10 metres,’’ said Oleksiak from Toronto.  ‘’The biggest challenge for me was stepping up after six days of swimming and overcoming some fatigue to do well.’’

In the 4×100 medley relays, the Canadian women were fifth with Danielle Hanus of Newmarket, Ont., Sarah Darcel of Victoria, Oleksiak and Ruck. The Canadian men were sixth with Javier Acevedo of Ajax, Ont., Warren Mayer of Pickering, Ont., Josiah Binnema of Prince George, B.C., and Markus Thormeyer of Delta, B.C. Thormeyer was also sixth in the 100-m freestyle final.

‘’I was exhausted,’’ he said.  ‘’ I didn’t perform as well as I would like but it showed me what I need to work on for next year and also gave me confidence for (the Olympic) trials next year.’’

Canada ends the competition with 12 medals (three gold, six silver and three bronze). It placed second in the women’s medal count and fourth overall. It’s Canada’s best showing at the junior worlds since a 15-medal intake in 2011. Canada won two medals in 2013.

In the pre-meet rankings, Canada was in only two medal positions in individual events but finished with nine individual medals.

“The team had a tremendous week and really came together well to produce a great overall result,’’ said Iain McDonald, senior manager high performance operations for Swimming Canada. ‘’On our teams and in our programs, we are always looking at improvement and we came through on that account this week.’’

The six-medal performance for both Ruck and Oleksiak equals a women’s world junior record.

Here are the Canadian medallists:
Gold (3): Taylor Ruck (born in Kelowna, B.C., resides in Arizona) 100-m freestyle and 200-m freestyle; 4×100-m mixed freestyle relay (Javier Acevedo, Ajax, Ont.; Markus Thormeyer,  Delta, B.C.; Penny Oleksiak, Toronto; Ruck).
Silver (6): Women’s 4×200-m freestyle relay (Oleksiak; Rebecca Smith, Red Deer, Alta.; Mary-Sophie Harvey, Montreal; Ruck); Oleksiak 50-m butterfly and 100-m butterfly; Acevedo 50-m backstroke; Harvey 200-m individual medley;
Bronze (3): Ruck 200-m backstroke; Danielle Hanus, Newmarket, Ont., 50-m backstroke; women’s 4×100-m freestyle relay (Oleksiak, Smith, Harvey, Ruck).

Full results: Omega Timing