Mare Nostrum medals for Thormeyer, Oleksiak, Ruck
Swimming Canada – BARCELONA, Spain – Markus Thormeyer of the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Vancouver was one of three Canadian medallists as the second leg of the Mare Nostrum tour opened Tuesday in Barcelona, Spain.
Thormeyer took silver in the men’s 200-metre backstroke at the high-profile international meet, a tune-up for next month’s FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Meanwhile, Penny Oleksiak earned a bronze birthday present in the 100-m butterfly, while her High Performance Centre – Ontario teammate Taylor Ruck took bronze in the 100-m back.
Thormeyer’s time of 2:00.94 was behind only Rio silver medallist Mitch Larkin of Australia (1:57.48).
“I’m really pleased with my performance in the 200 back tonight. It was good to race a bunch of new guys I haven’t really raced before on the international stage,” said the 19-year-old Olympian from Delta, B.C. “I feel like getting on the podium was a good step towards my goals of success at international competitions.
On the women’s side, quadruple Olympic medallist Oleksiak earned bronze in the 100-m butterfly to mark her 17th birthday. Her time of 57.65 put her behind Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, who set a meet record of 56.27, and Svetlana Chimrova of Russia (57.36).
Double Olympic medallist Ruck, meanwhile, came third with a time of 1:00.86 in the 100-m backstroke. Emily Seebohm of Australia (58.99) took gold ahead of Russia’s Daria Ustinova (1:00.46). Ruck also came fifth in the 200-m freestyle in 1:58.24.
It was a busy day for the HPC-ONT swimmers, as Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., came fifth in the 100 fly, setting a new personal best of 58.33, while Winnipeg’s Chantal Van Landeghem (25.05) and Sandrine Manville of Boucherville, Que. (25.11) came fifth and sixth in the 50-m free. Sjostrom also set a meet record in that event at 23.96. Meanwhile, Edmonton’s Richard Funk was sixth in the 100-m breaststroke in 1:01.08.
Canada’s National Team Development Program also placed two swimmers in finals. Rob Hill (2:06.27) of North Vancouver’s CHENA club finished sixth in the 200 back at 2:03.70. Hill and Ottawa’s Montana Champagne of GO Kingfish (2:06.59) came seventh and eighth in the 200-m individual medley.
Mare Nostrum is a three-leg series of two-day meets that attracts top swimmers from all around the world. Tuesday marked the halfway point, with one more day of competition in Barcelona Wednesday, followed by two days in Canet-en-Roussillon, France, Saturday and Sunday.
“I’m looking forward to the rest of the meet,” Thormeyer said. “I think this sets me up well for tomorrow and the following meet in Canet.”
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