YEOSU, South Korea – Team Canada wrapped up its open water competition at the FINA World Championships with a 13th-place finish in the 5-km mixed relay event.
Kate Sanderson, Hau-Li Fan, Chantel Jeffrey and Eric Hedlin combined for a time of 56:20.3 to finish 2:21.6 behind the victorious German team. Italy finished second in a photo finish just ahead of Team USA at Yeosu EXPO Ocean Park, approximately 90 km southeast of host city Gwangju.
“I thought it was a lot of fun,” said Toronto native Sanderson, 19. “It was definitely different than the other races I swam. I was more aggressive and it was a smaller field too so it kind of spread out a bit more. I thought it went really well. It was a lot of fun to swim with Hau-Li, Chantel and Eric.”
Sanderson, Fan, and Jeffrey all made their world championships debuts this week, while the veteran Hedlin took bronze in the men’s 5-km, his second career medal in the event.
“The week’s been really good. The team have been very professional, very relaxed, we’ve had a fantastic team environment and the athletes have thrived in that. We obviously were very successful on Day 1 with Eric getting in there and winning his medal, and we’ve also been very delighted with the five other athletes who had their first ever world championships and performed admirably,” said Open Water Head Coach Mark Perry.
“They’ve all learned a lot and when you’re working with a bunch of young people who are targeted for Paris 2024, it’s really encouraging that they’re soaking up the atmosphere, they’re looking at what other teams are doing, what the best in the world are doing and they’re learning from it and improving every day. I’m really excited for the future and very, very pleased with the week.”
Canada wraps up its competition as one of just eight countries to win a medal.
“With Eric Hedlin returning to the podium in the 5-km men’s event, and with Hau-Li Fan placing 17th in the Olympic marathon 10-km race at his first world championships, it shows the progress that is being made in the sport for Canada. On the women’s side of the program, first-time world championship swimmers Chantel Jeffrey and Kate Sanderson will leave Korea with great experience at the highest level of the sport,” said High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson. “Being part of the open water team down in Yeosu, it has been great to work firsthand with Mark Perry, and he’s been ably supported by coach Steve Price of UBC and from Ron Jacks at Pacific Coast Swimming.
“It’s been a great team effort and we continue to move forward.”
Atkinson expects Sanderson, Hedlin and Raben Dommann to represent Canada at the ANOC World Beach Games in Doha, Qatar, in October, although those nominations are yet to be officially ratified.
Sanderson and Fan also earned places to represent Canada at the final Olympic qualification event to take place in Japan in June 2020. A second place for both the men’s and women’s 10-km will be up for grabs at the 2020 Canadian Open Water Swimming Trials on Grand Cayman in April 2020, which will also feature a 5-km race this year.
“We’re delighted to have this opportunity for the development of open water swimming in Canada,” Atkinson said.
Full open water results: http://www.omegatiming.com/2019/18th-fina-world-championships-ow-live-results
The pool competition kicks off July 21 at the Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center in Gwangju, Korea. FINA TV (https://www.finatv.live/en), CBC (https://www.cbc.ca/sports/broadcast) and Radio-Canada (https://ici.radio-canada.ca/sports/horaire-diffusions) will webcast races live, with highlights on CBC’s Road to the Olympic Games show. Viewers can download the CBC broadcast schedule to sync with smartphone calendar apps here: http://calrep.ly/2JDCwxx
Visit www.swimming.ca for bios, profiles and preview stories, and follow Swimming Canada on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates throughout the championships.
Canadian Open Water results summary:
Men’s 5-km: Eric Hedlin bronze, Raben Dommann 16th
Men’s 10-km: Hau-Li Fan 17th, Jon McKay 24th
Women’s 5-km: Kate Sanderson 24th, Chantel Jeffrey 28th
Women’s 10-km: Kate Sanderson 35th, Chantel Jeffrey 45th
5-km mixed relay (Sanderson, Fan, Jeffrey, Hedlin): 13th