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Tessa Cieplucha wins Canada’s first swimming gold at Pan Am Games

2019 Pan American Games –

Photo Credit: David Jackson/COC

LIMA, Peru – Tessa Cieplucha won Canada’s first swimming gold at the Pan Am Games on Friday with a victory in the women’s 400-m individual medley. Canada also won a silver in the women’s 4X200-m freestyle relay.

After four days of competition, Canadian swimmers have 13 medals (one gold, six silver and six bronze).

The 20-year-old Cieplucha took control of the race at the halfway point and clocked four minutes and 39.90 seconds. Virgina Bardach of Argentina grabbed the silver in 4:41.05 and Mary-Sophie Harvey of Trois-Rivieres, Que., notched her second individual medal of the Games with the bronze in 4:43.20.

‘’This is such a big accomplishment,’’ said Cieplucha. ‘’This will give me confidence and allow me to set new goals in training and in competition. My training in that last 100 really kicked in and I knew I could swim through whatever I was feeling.’’

While she swam a controlled race in the morning, Cieplucha laid it all out in the final.

‘’In the prelims I wanted to establish rhythm in all my strokes But tonight I just raced because it was a strong field and I just wanted to see how fast I could go.’’

Harvey was hoping to fare better.

‘’It wasn’t the result I was hoping for,’’ she said. ‘’But last year at this time I was not swimming and I wasn’t sure if I would keep going. To be standing on the podium here just makes me so happy.’’

The U.S. took the women’s 4X200 free in 7:57.33 followed by the Canadians in 7:59.16. Swimming for Canada were in order Alyson Ackman of Pointe-Claire, Que., Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., Danica Ludlow of Victoria and Harvey. Brazil was a distant third in 8:07.77.

‘’It was a really great relay I’m so proud of all the girls,’’ said Ackman. ‘’We’ve been really excited about this race this week. I took it out really well and I tried to hold on as much as I could in the last 50 to set the table for Katerine.’’

Harvey now has four medals at the Games. She took silver Tuesday in the 200 fly and helped Canada to silver in the 4X100 mixed medley relay on Thursday before Friday’s double medal performance.

Ackman is now at three medals following her bronze medals Tuesday in the 400 free and 4X100 freestyle relay while Ludlow and Savard both have two podium appearances.

In the women’s 50-m freestyle, Kyla Leibel of Red Deer, Alta., tied for fourth with Loranne Ferreira of Brazil at 25.52. Etiene Pires de Medeiros of Brazil was first in 24.88 followed by Margo Geer of the U.S. second in 25.03 and her compatriot Madison Kennedy third at 25.14.

‘’I thought it was a really good race for me,’’ said Leibel, who helped Canada to bronze in the 4X100-m freestyle relay on Tuesday. ‘’I was nervous all day because it was my first individual race but I pulled it together this evening.’’

Ackman in her fourth individual final this week was eighth in 25.87.

Swimming competition at the Games ends on Saturday.

Full results: Results