Funk, Smith Cruise To 200 Breast Victories On Day 2 Of Mel Zajac


Day 2 of the Mel Zajac Jr. International wrapped up tonight, with plenty of exciting races taking place. The meet features many of Canada’s best, including some of their World Championship squad, along with the U.S. Junior team that has performed well so far.

The 200 breaststroke was the last individual event of the night, and there were two very notable names at the top of the podium.

As she predicted, Kierra Smith came away with a win in the women’s 200 breast, and a decisive one at that. Smith clocked an impressive 2:25.25, less than a second off her season best of 2:24.36 that ranks 12th in the world. Coming in over six seconds back for 2nd was Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson in 2:31.59.

In the men’s race it was all Richard Funk, as he knocked over five and a half seconds off from the morning to coast to victory in 2:15.41. AJ Bornstein, part of the US junior team, held off Canadian junior Jaren Lefranc for 2nd in 2:18.65. Lerfranc closed faster than anyone over the final 50 (34.91) and took 3rd in 2:18.90.

The men’s 50 free featured a battle between Canadian Olympian Yuri Kisil and US Olympic Trials finalist Dillon Virva. Kisil got to the wall 1st in 22.69, with Virva 2nd in 22.85. Kyle Robrock from the University of Denver took 3rd in 23.10. In the women’s event American junior Katherine Douglass cleared the field easily in 25.56, followed by Robrock’s German teammate Johanna Roas (26.04).

Roas also picked up a victory in the 50 back, beating out UBC’s Ingrid Wilm, 28.58 to 28.75. The men’s event saw Tim Zeng (25.74) take the win over Robrock (26.10). Zeng won the event at the Canadian Trials in April.

The women’s 200 IM was arguably the most exciting race of the night, with Island Swimming’s Sarah Darcel emerging in 2:15.27. Darcel, who swam three finals on the night, was run down by Kelsey Wog on the breaststroke leg before holding her off in the freestyle. Wog touched 2nd in 2:15.63, and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Hilary Caldwell took 3rd in 2:16.62 after leading at the 100m mark.

Tristan Cote and Kieran Smith renewed acquaintances in the men’s 400 free after an epic fight in last night’s 400 IM, with Cote once again coming out on top in 3:55.34. Smith was 2nd in 3:57.67, but went onto to win gold in the session a bit later in the 200 IM (2:02.75) over US junior teammate Sam Iida (2:03.16).

Also winning tonight were Canadian Trials champions Mackenzie Padington in the women’s 400 free (4:11.10) and Josiah Binnema in the men’s 100 fly (53.95). The event that got us all started, the women’s 100 fly, was another Canada vs US showdown, with Canada’s Maggie MacNeil (59.54) over the US’ Dakota Luther (1:00.00).

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4 years ago

2:25.2 is and impressive in-season swim for Smith. She was 2:25.96 I’m Atlanta a few weeks ago. I’ve also been very impressed with Who at this meet. She seems to have bounced back after a rough trials. Her 100 brst was around half a second faster than it was at nats. Her 200 im was a lifetime best by well over a second, and she finished in the top 5 I’m the 50 free and 50 fly. Excited for Her 50 brst. Also disappointed she didn’t swim the 200.

4 years ago

Also thought Caldwell and Nicol would be faster here, but Thormeyer and Dunk seem to be swimming fairly well

4 years ago

Smith also topped the 2:25.65 meet record held by Annamay Pierse, who held the world record in the 200m breast from 2009 to 2012. Who was the last Canadian before Pierse to hold a long course world record? Was it Allison Higson in the 200 breast in 1988? While looking, I found this interesting article on her. She was coached by Paul Bergen, and when she broke the world record in 1988 at 15, she swam her first 100 meters faster than any US girl had ever swam 100m breast save Tracy Caulkins, who was also coached by Bergen, and still held the American record in the event at the time.

Reply to  aquajosh
4 years ago

Amanda Reason, 50 breast, 2009.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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