BRIVE, France – British Columbian Hau- Li Fan turned in an impressive seventh-place performance against a strong field at the LEN Open Water Swimming Cup Thursday morning in Brive, France.
Fan, a 21-year-old member of the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds Swim Club, led a contingent of five Canadian competitors in the 10-kilometre men’s race at Lac du Causse.
Fan worked his way into third place during the fifth of six laps around the 1.66-kilometre lake course.
“It was a good race and a really nice venue,” said Fan, who finished seventh in the 10-km event at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo.
“I was a little slower out than I wanted to be, but I worked really hard to get back to the front and managed to get into a comfortable third before the last lap,” he continued.
“Things to work on is to hold on to the top three and work on my tactical mistakes.”
Fan’s time of 1:55.20.67 was 49.22 seconds behind winner David Aubry of France.
Canadian head coach Mark Perry said the large start list of 118 swimmers made getting into initial positions difficult.
“The main pack eventually ended up at around 35 and all five Canadians were in it,” Perry said. “In the final two laps, the pace picked up and swimmers fought for positions.”
Jon McKay (Pacific Coast Swimming) was the next best Canadian and finished in 13thplace.
Nicolas Masse-Savard (Club Aquatique Montreal) was 17th, Eric Hedlin (Pacific Coast Swimming) was 27th and Raben Dommann (Chena Swim Club) was 32nd.
Meanwhile, Stephanie Horner was the top Canadian in the women’s 10-kilometre race. Horner, of the Pointe-Claire Swim Club, finished 14th in the 96-swimmer field with a time of 2:04.24.21. Paula Ruiz-Bravo of Spain won the race with a time of 1:59.56.12.
Horner, 30, was pleased with her performance because she entered the race with three goals and she met them all.
Horner, who trains out of the High Performance Centre – Victoria, wanted to swim better than she did at trials, not let any competitor pass her late in the race and she successfully competed for the first time without a feed.
“Overall, I think things went pretty well for me at this point in the training season,” she said.
Toronto’s Kate Sanderson (unattached) finished in 41st place and Chantel Jeffrey (Island Swimming/NextGen Program) did not finish.
The LEN event is the final preparation for Fan, McKay, Hedlin, Dommann, Sanderson and Jeffrey before the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, Korea, this summer.
“For the more experienced swimmers,” Perry said, “it’s a chance to hone their skills and work on executing their individual race plans.
“For the new members of the senior team, it gives us the opportunity to introduce them to the senior team protocols and work with them on their individual strategies.”
The team relays are scheduled for Friday in Brive, a city of about 50,000 residents in southwest France.