Canada’s national junior and youth squad came from behind to grab the team title on Sunday at the Sunderland Triangular Meet junior swimming competition.
The weekend event pitted Canada’s Olympic hopefuls against Britain’s top 13 and over talent and a select team from Northern England. Despite winning 13 of 22 events on Saturday, the Canadians trailed top spot by seven points.
They overcame the deficit on Sunday earning victories in seven of 10 finals to finish with 301 points to 297 for Britain’s top 13 and over talent team.
Sunday’s highlight was in the men’s 200-metre butterfly as 15-year-old Mack Darragh of Oakville, Ont., placed first in the 200 butterfly clocking a personal best two minutes and 03.19 seconds. He also upset top-seed Sam Van De Schootbrugg of England second in 2:04.73.
‘’I’m proud of the way I raced and that I did a best time despite not being tapered,’’ said Darragh. ‘’I changed my strategy this time by going out hard in the first 100-metres. I was able to maintain a lot of strength through the second half which got me the win. There are a lot of areas I need to improve but this is becoming my best event.’’
Other Canadian winners in men’s competition were Richard Peddie of Edmonton in the 50 freestyle, Richard Funk of Edmonton in the 200 breaststroke with Lyam Dias of Pointe-Claire, Que., third. Darragh, Funk, Brayden Salmon of London, Ont., and Peddie added a silver in the 4X100 medley relay.
Keegan Zanatta and Alec Page, (IS) both of Victoria, were third and fourth respectively in the 1,500 freestyle.
The Canadian women earned wins in four of their five finals capped by top spot in the medley relay with Chantal Van Landeghem of Winnipeg, Tera Van Beilen of Oakville, Noemie Thomas (UBCD), and Lindsay Delmar of Calgary.
Van Landeghem also took the 50 freestyle with Delmar fourth, Van Beilen and Kierra Smith (LLSC) of Kelowna, were 1-2 in the 200 breaststroke, Brittany MacLean of Etobicoke won the 800 freestyle with Caitlin Hodge of Toronto seventh while Thomas and Marni Oldershaw of Oakville were second and third in the 200 butterfly.
‘’We all swam really fast in that relay,’’ said Van Beilen, with three individual victories this weekend. ‘’We knew it was close for the team title and everybody gave their all. I was pretty pleased with my individual swims. I’m swimming as fast as I did last year fully tapered.’’
On the first day of competition, the Canadian team similarly had strong results.
Van Landeghem took first spot in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke, MacLean was victorious in the 200 freestyle and 200 backstroke while Van Beilen prevailed in the 100 breaststroke – edging Kierra Smith (LLSC) in second – and the 400 individual medley with Marni Oldershaw second.
‘’I was happy with both those wins,’’ said Van Landeghem. ‘’In the 100 free, the second place girl from Britain had a great race and really pushed me. That helped me get a personal best.’’
MacLean suffered a back injury earlier this week and started all her races in the water rather than from the starting blocks.
‘’I was happy I was able to stay in the races despite being at a disadvantage at the start,’’ said MacLean. ‘’The back didn’t bother me during the races but I felt a lot of pain afterwards. I'm just trying to fight through it this weekend.”
Van Landeghem and MacLean combined forces with Caitlin Hodge of Toronto and Oldershaw for first spot in the 4X200 freestyle relay and with Van Beilen and Lindsay Delmar of Calgary for the win in the 4X100 freestyle relay.
Oldershaw added a win in the 200 IM and 14-year-old Noemie Thomas (UBCD), took the 100 butterfly.
“I went in believing I could win,” said Thomas, who missed her personal best and national age group record by 0.01 seconds. “My second length was especially good.”
It was a great day for the Canadian men with three victories and numerous top-three performances.
The winners were Richard Funk of Edmonton in the 100 breaststroke, Luke Peddie of Edmonton in the 100 freestyle with Brayden Salmon of London, Ont., third and Matthew Kwatyra of London in the 400 IM.
Kwatyra was also second in the 200 IM with Mack Darragh of Oakville third and helped Canada to second in the 4X200 freestyle relay with Salmon, Alec Page (IS) of Victoria and Keegan Zanatta (IS) of Victoria.
“The big focus for us at a meet like this is swimming technically well,” said Peddie. “We’ve come off two weeks of heavy training and it will be a big challenge to get personal bests. Under those circumstances it was great to get the win.”
Page added a second place finish in the 400 freestyle and 200 freestyle with Zanatta third. Page, Zanatta, Peddie and Salmon were also third in the 4X100 freestyle relay. Salmon was also third in the 200 backstroke.
Canadian national junior coach Ken McKinnon of Ottawa was pleased with the results.
‘’We did better than expected,’’ he said. ‘’We trained hard all week in London and it intensified leading up to the meet. It was really good to see us make that turnaround tonight to get the team title.’’
The Canadian team is in the midst of a three-week British Tour and competes next weekend at meet in Sheffield, England.
Full results available at: http://www.swimnortheast.org.uk/results/2011/trimeet/index.htm