Savard went 57.97 for her highest finish ever at worlds, a day after breaking her own Canadian record with a heat swim of 57.31. Thomas, swimming in her first world championships, was close behind at 58.13. Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, 19, won the gold medal in a time of 56.53, ahead of Australia’s Alicia Coutts (56.97) and American Dana Vollmer (57.24).
Both Canadian swimmers had mixed feelings about their results.
“I’m not really happy about my race tonight, but I still did a best time yesterday and a Canadian record, so it’s a good point in an international meet like that,” Savard said. “It’s my best rank and I’m just going to work to be better in the next few years.”
Thomas, 17, from Richmond, B.C., and Savard, 20, from Pont-Rouge, Que., were the youngest and third-youngest swimmers in the final.
“I think it’s good for our development as we get higher into the rankings. Every step is a good experience. I think we learned a lot from this race,” Thomas said. “I’m not so thrilled about the time but I’m really happy about how I just went in and tried my best.”
Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson agreed.
“To have two Canadians swimming in the final is a great achievement. Both girls were in their first international final at the world level in the 50-m pool. They may not be happy with their final positioning, but you’ve got to look at where they’ve come from and where they’re going as they progress to (the 2016 Olympics) in Rio,” Atkinson said.
Canada also had two swimmers in semifinal action Monday. Sinead Russell of Burlington, Ont., just missed qualifying for a final, finishing 9th in the women’s 100-m backstroke at 1:00.37. Charles Francis of Cowansville, Que., came 16th in the men’s 100-m back at 54.96.
The eight-day meet continues Tuesday, with Victoria’s Ryan Cochrane among the Canadian swimmers in action. Cochrane will swim the 800-m freestyle in the morning as he begins his quest for a third straight world championships medal in that event.
Canada has sent a 34-member team (17 men, 17 women) to the world championships. Action in the pool continues through Sunday at Palau Sant Jordi. Swimming Canada's broadcast partner Sportsnet will be compiling a one-hour highlight show from the finals sessions from all eight days of the championships.
For further information visit www.swimming.ca or www.bcn2013.com.