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Toronto-Based Teens Pass First Major Test in Record Fashion at NYAC Cup

A trio of Canadian teens from the High Performance Centre – Ontario are cranking up the heat in the early days of winter.

World Junior Championship medallists, Taylor Ruck, Kayla Sanchez and Rebecca Smith – put their off-season training to the test at the NYAC Cup being held at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

Led by the most decorated athlete at the World Junior Championships, Ruck, who has racked up nine gold, two silver and two bronze medals in her two trips to Junior Worlds, the young Canucks delivered record-setting and personal best performances at the first meet of the year in their home training centre.

Ruck rattled off three national age group records in the 100m back (57.26), 200m back (2:03.79), along with a national record in the 50m free (24.48) in addition to chalking up personal best times in the 100m free (52.60) and 200 IM (2:09.67).

“I haven’t raced since the World Juniors so I had very little expectations coming into the event. I just wanted to get racing again, go as hard as I could and have some fun,” said the 17-year-old Ruck, who also has two Olympic medals to her credit. “The results definitely provided good insight as to where I am right now. I want to keep working hard, and continue to get even better.”

The results are early validation Ruck is settling into her new training ground at the High Performance Centre – Ontario where she relocated this May to work under head coach Ben Titley.

“Being in this new environment has been a really good choice for my swimming,” said Ruck who balances her training while completing her senior year at West Hill Collegiate Institute. “It is quite different than what I’m used to, but it has really helped bring a lot of focus to my training which is paying off,” said Ruck.

The Kelowna, B.C. native has good company to make her feel at home with fellow teens, Kayla Sanchez and Rebecca Smith, at her side.

Both athletes, who each boast a pair of gold, one silver and a bronze medal of their own from the World Junior Championships, also posted personal best times at the NYAC Cup.

The 16-year-old Sanchez from Scarborough, Ont. clocked a time of 24.63 in the 50m free, 53.17 in the 100m free, 58.12 in the 100m back, 2:27.10 in the 200m-breast stroke, and 2:09.93 200 IM.

Smith, of Red Deer, Alta., also put confirmation her off-season training is on track with four personal best times of her own. The 17 year old stopped the clock at 53.21 in the 100m free, 26.14 in the 50m fly, 59.75 in the 100m back, and 2:10.23 in the 200 IM. She also put up a time of 24.98 in the 50m free.

Head coach Ben Titley will continue working with the Toronto-based swimmers on skill development and technique in preparation for a long course meet in the United Kingdom scheduled for early December, followed by the Lausanne Swim Cup in Switzerland just before the holiday break.