MONACO – Brent Hayden (UBCD) won the gold medal in the men’s 100-metre freestyle and Sinead Russell of Oakville, Ont., led Canada to a 1-2 finish in the women’s 200 backstroke on Saturday to open the three-stop Mare Nostrum swimming circuit.
In the men’s 100 freestyle, Hayden clocked 49.18 seconds to finish ahead of three Russians including Andrey Grechin second in 49.41 and Danila Izotov third in 49.70.
‘’The depth of the field here was fantastic and Brent is a guy who relishes the occasions and rises to the challenge,’’ said Canadian national team coach Tom Johnson. ‘’He swam a smart race and got his hand first to the wall. To go through the time change and swim as well he and the other Canadians did today was really good.’’
In Sunday's 200 Free, Hayden followed up that performance with a silver-medal 1:49.32, finishing behind Paul Biedermann of Germany, who won handily in 1:46.82.
‘’It was O.K., I’m satisfied with the placement and the effort,’’ said Hayden. ‘’Being in lane one actually made it less stressful for me. I had a good start but my turn wasn’t so great and I lost some speed.’’
Canada's other medalist in the meet was Martha McCabe (UBCD), who took the bronze in the women's 200 Breast with a time of 2:28.57, finishing behind Rebecca Soni and her meet record performance of 2:24.45 and Joline Hostman of Sweden (2:26.42). She also just out-touched her teammate, world-record holder in the event, Annamay Pierse (2:28.57), with other teammates Haylee Johnson and Hanna Pierse, finishing in fifth and sixth, respectively.
Annamay Pierse, however, had been the top finisher in the women's 100 breast, where she finished fourth, while Haylee Johnson was fifth and McCabe was second in the B final for 10th overall.
Three Canadians were in the women’s 200 backstroke final and Russell took the gold in 2:10.93 with Lauren Lavigna of Vancouver followed in 2:12.69. Barbara Jardin of Montreal was sixth in 2:13.84.Other Canadian finalists were Jardin with fifth in the women’s 200 freestyle while Katerine Savard of Quebec City and Audrey Lacroix of Montreal were sixth and eighth in the women’s 100 butterfly.
In B finals, Mathieu Bois of Montreal and Jason Block of Calgary were third and seventh in the 200 breaststroke and Kelly Aspinall of Vancouver seventh in the 100 backstroke.
Victoria Poon of Montreal advanced to the semifinals in the women’s 50 freestyle.
Competition ends Sunday.