WINDSOR, Ont. – Canada finished off its best-ever performance at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) Sunday with three medals, including a gold.
The three-medal night brought Canada’s haul to eight, including two gold, matching the total from Hong Kong 1999, where Canada did not win gold. Canadian swimmers set 17 new national records throughout the meet, besting the previous high of nine.
“I’m really pleased. The team did a great job – the veterans on the team and also the new athletes that are coming through,” said Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson. “You get to do this sort of thing because of the support we get from partners like Own the Podium and the Government of Canada. From training centres, to team camps to trips to put in the support to prepare the athletes for moments like this.”
The women’s 4x50-m freestyle relay got the night off to a great start for Canada. Michelle Williams led off with a best time of 24.07 as she, Sandrine Mainville, Taylor Ruck and Penny Oleksiak combined for a time of 1:35.00. Oleksiak brought it home with the fastest relay split of 23.54 as they beat the Netherlands by 0.37 and smashed a seven-year-old Canadian record by more than four seconds.
“A gold medal just is amazing every time. It just keeps getting better and better,” said Ruck, who was also part of Saturday’s 4x200-m freestyle gold.
“We were just kind of riding the wave of excitement from last night and basically through the whole week. This was our last chance to race so we just wanted to give it all we’ve got and obviously it worked out for us,” added Williams, who helped earn one of Canada’s six medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. “We had a great summer and we came out here to sort of prove that wasn’t a fluke. Canadian swimming is on the rise.”
Mainville, also an Olympic relay medallist, echoed Williams’ sentiments.
“I think a lot of people on our team realized we were way faster than we thought we could be. In Rio we got such amazing results and we’re going to use that for the years to come. We’re not just good but good internationally and we can race those girls,” Mainville said.
“Tonight I think we just wanted to have fun. We wanted to get a medal and the fact that it was the last day, there was a lot of people in the stands. That got us going and it was pretty fun,” she added.
National team rookie Kelsey Wog of Winnipeg earned a surprise silver medal in the women’s 200-m breaststroke.
Wog touched the wall in 2:18.52, just 0.01 behind Molly Renshaw of Great Britain.
“It’s unreal, especially at home. I think that home crowd definitely gave me more motivation to go faster,” said the 18-year-old, who was originally an alternate for the team.
“I was added to the team later and I had no idea I could do this,” she said. “It will give me a lot of confidence to go into training and know that I can be up there. I guess we’re all just feeding off of each other’s performances and pushing ourselves because we can be up there.”
Kierra Smith of Kelowna, B.C., was fifth in 2:19.88.
In the final event of the night, the women’s 4x100-m medley relay earned the record-tying medal, a silver. Kylie Masse, Rachel Nicol, Katerine Savard and Oleksiak combined for a time of 3:48.87 to beat all but Team USA.
Canada’s other final of the night saw Savard break her own Canadian record in the 100-m butterfly. Her time of 56.15 was good for fourth place.
Sportsnet One will be airing a final highlight show Monday at 6 a.m. ET.
For complete results, visit http://www.omegatiming.com/Competition?id=000110000DFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF&sport=AQ&year=2016