Wilkinson Wins Bronze for Canada at Commonwealth Games

DELHI (October 6, 2010) - Julia Wilkinson of Island Swimming, won her second swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday placing third in the women’s 100-metre backstroke.

Emily Seebohm of Australia clocked a Games record 59.79 seconds for the victory with Gemma Spofforth of England in second at 1:00.02 and Wilkinson third in 1:00.74, about a half-second off the Canadian record time.  

On Monday, Wilkinson also took bronze in the 200 IM.  It is Canada’s fourth medal in the pool.

“To come here having never won an international medal and now I got two is very exciting,” said Wilkinson.  “I was hoping for a better time but overall it was a good 100 backstroke for me. Before the race I wasn’t feeling that good, but probably the others weren’t either, so I had to show I could handle this well.” 

Canada was edged out for the medals in both the men’s and women’s 4X200 freestyle relays, placing fourth in the two races.  The women were closest with Geneviève Saumur of Montreal, Wilkinson, Barbara Jardin of Montreal and Alexa Komarnycky of Victoria clocking 7:58.92 just 0.31 seconds from third place England.

“That was my first relay with Team Canada so I was really nervous,” said Komarnycky.  “It was a great experience and we would have liked to be on the podium.  I’ve been working a lot more on my 200 lately and hopefully it’ll get better soon.”

In the men’s race, Stefan Hirniak and Ryan Cochrane of Island Swimming joined forces with UBC Dolphins teammates, Brent Hayden and Brian Johns to post a time of 7:14.63, butwere just edged out for the medal by South Africa third in 7:14.18.  

"All of us could've been better, that's where we are right now," said Cochrane, the 2008 Beijing 1,500 m freestyle bronze medallist.  "We're definitely moving forward, there were a couple of little mistakes. Overall we had decent swims, it didn't add up to a medal but we're pretty close."

Australia won both relays.

There was an Australian medal sweep in the women’s 200 breaststroke with defending champion Leisel Jones earnign the gold.  Tessa Wallace and Sarah Katsoulis were second and third respectively.   Martha McCabe of Vancouver was less than a half-second off the podium placing fourth in 2:26.46 while Annamay Pierse of Vancouver took fifth spot in 2:27.21.

“I felt really good out there but I really wanted a medal,” said McCabe, a finalist at the world championships last year.  “But it was very tough field and that was the best I could right now. I thought Annamay and I had the potential to be 1-2 so we’re surprised with this result.”

In the women’s 100 freestyle, Australia's Alicia Coutts won that race for her second gold medal of the Games and teammate Seebohm picked up her third medal by taking the silver.  The bronze in the 100 free went to England's Francesca Halsall.  Victoria Poon of Montreal, second after the semis, took sixth spot.

Charles Francis Montreal and Tobias Oriwol of Toronto were fifth and seventh, respectively, in the men's 200 backstroke;  Scott Dickens of Vancouver finished fifth in the men's 100 breaststroke.

It was a pretty good race,” said Dickens.  “I tried to go out strong with the pack but today just wasn’t my day. But I’m still happy with the overall result.  I gave it my all.”

Francis was also hoping to fare better.

“This was my key event,” he said.  “I was hoping for a better performance but I’ll take it for now.  I know I have to go back and improve several facets of my racing.”

Hayden looked strong in his 100 freestyle semifinal winning his heat in 48.74 for the second fastest time overall behind Eamon Sullivan of Australia at 48.66.

Audrey Lacroix and Katerine Savard, both of Pont-Rouge, Que., also advanced to the women’s 100 butterfly final with the fifth and eighth best semifinal times and Komarnycky posted the third fastest clocking in the women’s 800 freestyle to earn a berth in Thursday’s final.

Swimming Canada’s CEO and national coach Pierre Lafontaine agreed Canada didn’t reach all its goals on Wednesday. 

“We haven’t had a night like this in quite some time,” said Lafontaine.  “But there are no easy races and we have to show some character moving forward.”

“The flip side today is we probably had more swimmers in position today than we’ve had in a long time,” said Randy Bennett, the head coach of Canada’s Commonwealth swim team.  “A few of these kids haven’t won before and to get them into a position to win a medal is part of the process.”

Full results available at: http://results.cwgdelhi2010.org/en/Root.mvc.