Kierra Smith (LLSC) laughed off a wardrobe malfunction in the morning prior to capturing gold in women's 200-metre breaststroke on the Day 2 of the Mel Zajac Jr. Internaional Swim Meet.
During the morning preliminaries at UBC Aquatics Centre, Smith ripped a strap in her swimsuit – which if nothing else, is proof the training she's undergoing ahead of her Pan Am Games debut is paying off. The 20-year-old won the 200-m breaststroke in two minutes 27.86 seconds, three seconds faster than both American teen Emma Schanz (2:30.95) and fellow Canadian Tera Van Beilen (UBCD) (2:31.03).
“I actually don't think I've ever ripped a suit before, so it was totally shocking,” said the Kelowna, B.C., native, who tweeted a photo of the shredded strap.
“I had a girl who was probably 13 years old helping me get the strap down – I wasn't racing – and it ripped right on the back part. I think she turned white, 'oh my gosh, your suit ripped.' I told her, 'it wasn't going to happen.' I tried out a new one, the Laser suit, so now I'm comfortable with it. Minor speed bump, it was fine.”
“I believe it went well,” added Smith, who will swim on the Mare Nostrum circuit in Europe next month prior to Pan Ams. “I'm faster than I was at this point last year. So I'm really excited about that. I'm hoping to put up a best time at Pan Ams and be ready for the worlds in August.
“I always love the Mel Zajac and was sad that I might miss out on after getting back from school [at the University of Minnesota] so I was really glad to get into the meet. It's a really, really fun meet with a great atmosphere.”
Smith's result was among six individual golds by Canadians. Notable top finishes included a double win by Russell Wood. The Calgary native, who's qualified for Pan Ams, won men's 50-m backstroke (26.27 seconds) and 200-m individual medley (2:05.49). That was part of a Canadian 200 IM sweep, with 17-year-old Emily Overholt (WVOSC) clocking 2:15.33 on the women's side.
“I think this is a great meet to see where we are,” said Wood. “We just came off our Hawaii camp so we are in pretty heavy training.
“I haven't trained this hard in a long time, so still being able to swim this fast should mean good things for the summer ... for such a shallow pool [while] diving in, [26.27] is a pretty good time.”
Wood entered the IM on a lark.
“I saw the psych sheets and thought, 'I can win this,' so I went in and just tried to stick with it,” he said.
Overholt edged Schanz (2:16.59) and Lethbridge, AB, native Rachel Nicol (2:21.50).
Noemie Thomas (UBCD), who has returned to train at the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Vancouver for the summer, was the only sub-minute swimmer in women's 100-m butterfly. Thomas touched in 59.92, beating Olympia Swim Club's Jacomie Strydom (1:01.42) and Overholt (1:02.60).
The UBC Dolphins' Keegan Zanatta won men's 400-m freestyle in 3:56.72, ahead of Tristan Cote (3:58.55) and Stefan Milosevic (3:58.60).