BC Swimmers Step onto Podium at Mare Nostrum Tour

CANET, France – Brent Hayden and Annamay Pierse, both of Vancouver, and Audrey Lacroix of Montreal all stepped on the podium on Sunday to conclude the third and final stop on the Mare Nostrum swimming circuit.

In the men’s 100-metre freestyle, Olympic champion Alain Bernard of France edged Hayden at the finish clocking 49.01 seconds. Hayden followed in 49.06 and Evgeny Lagunov of Russia was third in 49.45. 

It was Hayden’s sixth medal in six races on the eight-day circuit (three gold and three silver) which started last weekend in Monaco, continued midweek in Barcelona and ended here.

“I gave it a really good effort in the final,” said Hayden. “This was the last race of a really strenuous tour and I was happy to end it with a performance like that. I was solid all the way through and my times improved.”

In the women’s 200 breaststroke Rebecca Soni of the U.S., set a meet record clocking 2:21.99 with Yuliya Efimova of Russia second in 2:24.55 and Pierse, the world record holder, third in 2:27.72 for her first medal of the Tour after four fourth place finishes and a fifth this week. Martha McCabe of Vancouver was sixth.

“I know I can still perform better but I’m pleased to get on the podium,” said Pierse, the world championship silver medallist. “The first part of my race was a bit all over the place but I was really pleased with how I finished on the final length.”

In the women’s 200 butterfly, Samantha Hamill of Australia took the gold in 2:08.22, Mireia Belmonte of France was second in 2:09.19 and Lacroix took third spot for her first medal this week in 2:10.57.

“This was really a good opportunity to see where I stood at this point in the season,” said Lacroix. “Everybody here is at different stages in training so really getting a medal wasn’t a big goal. I was really more focused on how my times would improve.”

In other women’s finals, Tanya Hunks of Vancouver was sixth in the 400 freestyle and Victoria Poon of Montreal seventh in the 100 freestyle.

In the women’s B finals, Haylee Johnson of Vancouver won the 200 breaststroke for ninth overall with Hanna Pierse of Vancouver fifth. Katerine Savard of Quebec City was fourth in the 200 butterfly.

In the men’s B finals, Kelly Aspinall of Vancouver was seventh in the 50 butterfly and Steven Bielby of Pointe-Claire, Que., 12th in the 1,500 freestyle.

Full results: click here