GWANGJU, South Korea – The FINA World Masters Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, are well underway and a team of 55 masters swimmers are proudly representing Canada. After the open water event and three days in the pool, the Canadian team has won a total of nine medals so far.
Canadian women started strong in the challenging course of the 3,000-m open water event with four top-10 finishes out of five swimmers: Louise Cobetto (7th), Alienor De Steur (9th), Marie-Élaine Lapone (9th), Josée Chapdelaine (10th), and Heather Cooke (19th). Men also gave a valiant effort: Mike Morrow (11th), Keith Gauld (13th), Edward Evelly (16th), Stewart Miller Scott (19th), and Mike Cooke (22nd).
Korea was an inspiring destination for a number of swimmers, notably British Columbian Maxime Maréchal-McCoy. He had already visited China and Japan, and two years ago, when he learned the next World Masters Championships would be hosted in Gwangju, he decided to get back to his sport.
“Why not visit a great country and compete in an international sports event?” Maréchal-McCoy said.
His decision paid off, as he has won a bronze medal in the 100-m freestyle with a time of 53.24, more a full second faster than the previous national record for the 30-34 age group. The previous record was held by Mark Oldham, who swam the event in 54.68 back in 2002. Georgina Lopez (BC, 75-79) and Sarah Woodworth (ON, 45-49) respectively won a gold and a bronze medal in the same event. Alan Robert Morris (BC, 70-74) and Linda Hunt (NS, 65-69) were silver medallists in the 200-m backstroke, and Helena Wong Hing Lui (QC, 70-74) won the third Canadian silver medal in the 100-m breaststroke. Lopez was also a gold medallist in the 50-m butterfly on Day 3, and Hunt won the bronze in her category.
Josée Chapdelaine, from Quebec, spent a few days in Seoul before the competition began. She then took the train down to Yeosu, where the open water event was held. She swam the race in 47:13.5, despite the extreme heat that made it difficult.
“The course was beautiful. There were a lot of European swimmers, and the level of performance was very high. Despite the heat, I’ve really enjoyed my experience so far,” she said.
Chapdelaine also swam the 800 m freestyle (11:14.82) and the 400 m individual medley (6:30.00).
Sarah Murphy, from Ontario, is discovering another aspect of masters swimming during the event.
“I’m fairly new to swimming, but I absolutely love it, and competing at worlds is the best. So far, Korea has exceeded all my expectations, and as always, the camaraderie with fellow swimmers is absolutely wonderful,” said Murphy, who swam the 100-m freestyle (1:10.16), 200-m freestyle (2:38.59), and 50-m butterfly (36.53) so far.
The swimming competition of the FINA World Masters Championships will be continuing until Aug. 18. For the competition schedule and full results, visit the Gwangju 2019 official website: http://wmc2019.microplustiming.com/swimming/index_web.php
Canadian Masters Entry List
|Mark Stephen Beaton||Michael Zbigniew Siarkowski|
|Matei Eugen Petrescu||Darryl Darcy Gulay|
|Yoon Kang||Jorge Alberto Rodriguez|
|Arthur Gordon Harry Savage||Maxime Thomas Maréchal|
|Salvador Huerta||Stephen Alexander Koss|
|Michael Anthony Cooke||Alan Robert Morris|
|Stewart Miller Scoot||William Frederick David Landry|
|Charles Anthony Bezanson||Ljube Graovac|
|Richard Minh Duc La||John Murray McIntyre|
|Keith Stedman Gauld||Jackson So|
|Travis David Cummings||Martial Rivard|
|Alexandre Boulanger||Chun Wang Edmund Loh|
|Thomas Michael Morrow||Martin Giroux|
|Douglas McNeill Munn||James Handson Chalmers|
|Michael John Clayton||Bryan Martin Iliscupidez|
|Stephen James Skutovich||Henry Thomas Vehovec|
|Marie-Claude Harvey||Alisa Boulanger|
|Josée Chapdelaine||Amélie Hong Mai Ha|
|Alienor De Steur||Heather Anne Cooke|
|Natacha Ménard||Katelyn June Pellow Mueller|
|Linda Jane Hunt||Jennifer Campbell|
|Sarah McDougall Murphy||Jennifer Leigh Jones|
|Helena Wong-Hing Lui||Sarah Elizabeth Woodworth|
|Sylvie Lefebvre||Louise Cobetto|
|Anita Masbourian||Janine Boivin|
|Marly Levine Tcherni||Aleksandra Milutinovic|
|Georgina Lopez||Marie-Élaine Lalonde|