McKay Dabbles with Lead, Places Seventh at Pan Am Games
Swimming Canada – LIMA, Peru – A tactical error may have cost Victoria’s Jon McKay a medal on Sunday in the men’s 10 kilometre open water race as swimming action got underway at the Pan Am Games.
McKay, 23, led through laps six, seven and eight of the nine lap race, building as much as a 44 second gap on his closest pursuer before finishing seventh in one hour and 54 minutes and 19.5 seconds.
Esteban Enderica of Ecuador, the 2015 bronze medallist, won the gold in 1:53:46.7. Guillermo Vitto Bertola of Argentina was second in 1:54.00.0 and Taylor Abbott of the U.S. was third in 1:54:02.7.
McKay, who raced at the FINA World Swimming Championships last month, was kicking himself for his making his move too early.
‘’I saw an opportunity where everybody seemed timid to go and I decided that would be a good time to try and push the pace a bit,’’ said the 23-year-old. ‘’But it was probably one lap too early. I was confident that I could keep the pace I was going. Definitely by the end I was gassed, I was limping past that finish line.
‘’If I had waited another lap, I think I could have won it.’’
Mark Perry, Swimming Canada’s distance and open water coach, said McKay learned some valuable lessons.
‘’At this level, if you go too soon and misjudge your energy you are going to get caught,’’ he said. ‘’He probably could have been on the podium if he hadn’t got his strategy wrong. It was a very brave swim.’’
Raben Dommann of North Vancouver took 10th spot in the 20-man field in 1:55:33.1.
‘’I put myself in a pretty good position in the beginning,’’ said Dommann, 18, who was 16th in the five kilometre at the worlds. ‘’The pace picked up and it was a struggle to stay in there. I’m not sure if it was hydration or I was just working too hard in the front half.’’
In the women’s 10 kilometre final held in the morning, five-time world champion Ana de Jesus Soares of Brazil won the gold medal in 2:00:51.9 with Cecilia Biagioli of Argentina, the 2011 Games champion, second in 2:01:03.2 and Viviane Eichelberger of Brazil third in 2:02:24.0.
Kate Sanderson of Toronto was the top Canadian in sixth in 2:02:52.2 while Chantel Jeffrey of Victoria was ninth in 2:04:45.0. Both were also world team members. There were 20 entries.
Sanderson, 19, was ranked as high as second at the 3.8 kilometre mark, then dropped to 13th at 6.3 kilometre before she moved back to fifth at the next split at 7.5 kilometre.
‘’At the sixth lap the race broke apart and the elite people started to go ahead,’’ said Sanderson, eighth at the world juniors last year. ‘’From there it was sprint as fast as you can for the the last three laps. I just told myself to keep going and try to catch up to as many people as possible.’’
For her part, Jeffrey moved into third at 6.3 kilometre but couldn’t hold on as the leaders picked up the pace.
‘’The hardest part is when the pace picks up because it is always tricky who you want to follow,’’ she said. ‘’I wanted to apply what I learned from worlds in this race as well. It’s really good for me going into next year because I have all this experience. I feel like with open water the more you race, the more you learn.’’
Perry was pleased with the Canadian women’s performances.
‘’They both had race plans and they executed them well,’’ he said. ‘’Top-eight was the target and we were right there. Every race is a learning opportunity, and each race is different. It’s good to come here and face some of the best in the world.’’
The pool events get underway on Tuesday.
Full results: https://www.lima2019.pe/en/results