Smith earns silver, Anderson adds 800 bronze at Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships
Swimming Canada – MAUI, HAWAII – Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Smith prevailed in a silver-medal duel in women’s 200-metre freestyle on Thursday, contributing to Canada’s two-medal opening night at the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.
The Red Deer, Alta., native parlayed a fast start into the first of the two Canadian medals at Kihei Aquatic Center, coming in at one minute 58.90 seconds. Smith got out quickly with a 27.74-second opening 50, creating enough separation to outlast the United States’ Isabel Ivey (1:58.94, bronze) Bingjie Li of China won gold in 1:58.23. Mary-Sophie Harvey, who is based at the Intensive Training Program – Montreal, was fourth in 1:59.48.
“I was super-excited about it – I was in Lane 7 so I couldn’t see the other swimmers, but what really got me going was the whole team sitting on the bleachers cheering for me and Mary-Sophie swimming with me,” Smith, 16, said.
“It was a great swim … I just put my head down and went for it. Going into the race I just wanted to get a best time and break that two-minute mark, but I guess I just jumped right to 1:58 [range].”
Smith, who recently joined Cascade Swim Club in Calgary, added that she drew motivation from Canada’s six-medal effort at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I’ve been on a team with a couple of them and it was exciting to see those women do well.”
Olivia Anderson, 17, had a breakthrough via a bronze-earning 8:32.84 swim in 800-m freestyle. The Etobicoke, Ont., native maintained an excellent pace in order to get on the podium with Li (8:28.12, gold) and Joy Fielding (8:31.21, silver) of the U.S.
“It’s not every day that you get an opportunity to race some very fast junior girls, so it was a great situation and I was hoping for a great outcome,” Anderson said. “It’s so great for us to have two medallists on the first night because that build momentum for the rest of the week.
“Tonight was a big drop for me,” Anderson added. “It was the first time under the FINA ‘A’ cut. I feel like I’ve saying for the past six months, ‘I can go 33-9,’ [8:33.90] and I went faster than that. It was good for it to just finally do it, and go under 33. It’s a little bittersweet because I know if I had been that time in April [at the Canadian Olympic and Para-swimming Trials] I would have some Olympic rings right now. But I’m super-excited to have gone this time.”
The Junior Pan Pacs continue through Sunday.
Other Canadian finalists on Wednesday:
Women’s 100-m backstroke: Danielle Hanus, Newmarket Stingrays, fifth, 1:01.81; Ingrid Wilm, Cascade Swim Club, sixth, 1:02.06.
Men’s 100-m backstroke: Tai Long Singh, Intensive Training Program – Montreal, fifth, 57.05; Matthew Mac, Oakville Aquatic Club, 57.17, sixth.
Women’s 200-m butterfly: Mabel Zavaros, Oakville, sixth, 2:14:00; Sarah Darcel (2:14.12, seventh)
Men’s 200-m butterfly: Colin Gilbert, Kamloops Classic Swimming, sixth, 2:01.57.
Men’s 200-m freestyle: Ian MacKinnon, Golden Horseshoe Aquatic Club, sixth, 1:51.96; Brian Palaschuk, Regina Optimist Dolphins, seventh, 1:52.22.
Men’s 1,500-m freestyle: Josh Zakala, CSI Pacific NextGen Program, seventh, 15:40.45.