SYDNEY, Australia – Canada had a strong start at the Australian Age Group Swimming Championships, including a gold medal for Meryn McCann of Burlington, Ont. Competing the 15-year-olds division, McCann placed first in the women’s 200-m backstroke in 2:14.05, almost two seconds ahead of runner-up Monique Rae of Australia. Ingrid Wilm of Calgary was sixth.
“I felt relaxed and I thought I was going faster than I actually was,” said McCann.
Highlighting Canada performance was Mary-Sophie Harvey of Trois-Rivieres, Que. She won the gold medal in the women’s 200-m individual medley and 100-m butterfly on Monday (April 14).
Canada has sent a 12-member team for the week-long competition and opened with four golds and a bronze.
Competing in the 14-year-old age group, Harvey clocked a Canadian age group record and meet record 2:16.29 in the 200-m IM. Rebecca Cross of Australia was second in 2:20.57 and Olivia Anderson of Mississauga, Ont., third in 2:22.12.
Harvey, who eclipsed the previous national 13-14 age group mark of 2:17.16 set by Sydney Pickrem in 2012, improved her personal best by five seconds.
“I was confident I could go a best time but not by as much,” said Harvey. “The big improvement was in my backstroke. It’s an area I had struggled with but I improved my time by three seconds on that split.”
It was much closer in the 100-m fly for Harvey, who prevailed in 1:01.36. Gemma Cooney of Australia was second in 1:01.82 and her compatriot Emma Carr third in 1:02.63.
“I was pretty rushed for that race,” said Harvey. “I was still warming down from my 200 IM when I was told to get ready for the 100 fly. I had to prepare quickly.”
In the men’s 100-m freestyle in the 16-year-old age group, Javier Acevedo of Scarborough, Ont., was the winner in a personal best 50.90. Vincent Dai of Australia, the leader at the turn, was edged at the finish clocking 50.94. Markus Thormeyer of Delta, B.C., was fifth in 51.92.
“I’ve put a lot of work in the first half of my race,” said Acevedo. “I came out with my best first length which allowed me to stay close to Dai. After the turn we were even and I didn’t breathe for the last 10 seconds of the race.”
Other Canadian finalists were Georgia Kidd of St. Albert, Alta., sixth in the women’s 16-year-old 100-m freestyle and Edwin Zhao of Surrey, B.C., ninth in the men’s 17-18 400-m freestyle.
“Our kids did a really good job,” said Ken McKinnon, Swimming Canada’s national junior coach. “We were only 36 hours off a very long plane ride when the meet started and they stepped up with a strong preliminary round.”
Full results at: http://liveresults.swimming.org.au/sal/2014Age/