EILAT, Israel – Michael McGillivray of Regina, Kenna Smallegange of Burlington, Ont., Emma O’Croinin of Edmonton and Alexander Axon of Markham, Ont., took fifth place in the 14-16 age group 5-km relay on Saturday at the FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships.
It was a second fifth-place for Axon, who earned the same result in the individual 5-kilometre. The two fifth places are Canada’s best ever results at the event.
Hungary won the gold medal in 56 minutes and 48.1 seconds, the U.S. was second in 57:31.8 and Italy third in 58:10.0. Russia was fourth in 58:10.9 and the Canadians followed in 59:32.1.
‘’We did really well,’’ said Smallegange, ninth in her 5-km race on Thursday. ‘’There’s a lot more strategy to the relay which made for a lot of anticipation and excitement. This kind of international experience is going to make us a lot better.’’
‘’It was one of the best swimming experiences I ever had.’’ added McGillivray.
In the open 5-km relay, Canada placed 16th with Raben Dommann of North Vancouver, Alexander Katelnikoff of Calgary, Kate Sanderson and Octavia Lau of New Westminster, B.C. France took the gold ahead of the U.S. in second and Italy in third.
‘’It’s very rewarding to know you can come back a day after racing a 10-km and do it again,’’ said Sanderson, eighth in her individual race on Friday. ‘’We showed we have a lot of potential and learning from other countries will help us.’’
‘’I’m pleased with the team’s performance,’’ said Mark Perry, Swimming Canada’s distance and open water coach. ‘’We finished with three swimmers inside a top-10 and a relay inside the top-10 which is Canada’s best ever performance.’’