Darragh starts strong at swimming nationals

Mack Darragh of Oakville notched his first career men’s national title winning the 200 butterfly on Thursday (July 19) as the 2012 Summer Nationals swimming competitions started at the Kinsmen Sport Centre.

With Canada’s top swimmers in Europe preparing for the Olympics, Darragh was feeling the pressure to get on the top step of the podium.

“It feels great to get the win,” said the 18-year-old Darragh. “I was feeling more nervous than usual before the race because I knew I had a chance to win. I’m happy to see all my efforts pay off.”

Sixteen-year-old Noemie Thomas of Vancouver earned two medals, including gold in the women’s 200-metre butterfly.

Thomas clocked two minutes and 12.59 seconds for the victory in the 200 fly with Brenna MacLean of West Vancouver second at 2:13.88 and Breanna Siwicki of Winnipeg third at 2:15.10.

In the first race of the night, Sandrine Mainville of Boucherville, Que., edged Thomas by 0.01 seconds for the gold in the 50 butterfly. Mainville finished in 26.96, Thomas in 26.97 while Chantique Payne of Guelph, Ont., was third in 27.45.

Other winners in women’s competition were Brittney Harley of Vancouver in the 200 freestyle, Dominique Bouchard of North Bay, Ont., in the 100 backstroke and Alexandra Aitchison of Edmonton in the 1,500 freestyle.

Other winners in men’s competition were Kelly Aspinall of Vancouver in the 50 fly, Hassaan Abdel-Khalik of Etobicoke, Ont., in the 200 freestyle, Jake Tapp of Langley, B.C., in the 100 backstroke and Kier Maitland of Edmonton in the 800 freestyle.