Laon Kim Takes Out Cole Pratt’s 13-14 200 Free Age Group Record With 1:53.32 At Easterns

by Ben Dornan 8

March 26th, 2023 Canada, International, News

2023 Speedo Eastern Canadian Championships

  • March 16 – 19, 2023
  • Windsor, Ontario
  • Long Course Meters
  • Results Page

The 2023 Speedo Eastern Canadian Championships took place in Windsor, Ontario from March 16 – 19, 2023. The meet is open to swimmers outside of the “youth” age groups, but it mainly serves as a showcase for boys aged 14 – 16 and girls aged 13 – 15.

Boys Meet

In the 200 freestyle, 14-year-old Laon Kim from HYACK out-swam everyone else in the age group. He swam a 1:53.32 in the final to win the event by over four seconds and took out Cole Pratt’s 13 – 14 age group record in the process. Pratt held a 1:54.04 from back in 2017. The silver medal here went to Connor Barnardo with a 1:57.92 and Eitan Issakov took bronze with a 1:58.01.

Laon Kim topped the podium in the 100 freestyle as well, hitting a 52.57 to out-touch Barnard’s 53.62 for silver. Laon’s time was a bit slower than his own 13 – 14 age group record of 51.75 from earlier this year. The bronze medal in the event went to Albert Bouley, who also picked up a gold medal in the 50 freestyle with a 23.93.

Kim showed off his versatility in the 100 fly, swimming to victory with a 56.25 as the only one in the age group under 57 seconds in the final Kyle Stuckless from LAC touched in second place with a 57.65, and Anton Semenyuk of NG touched with a 58.22 for third,

Renaud Trudel swept the men’s distance events, winning the 400, 800, and 1500 freestyles. He has a tough battle with multi-medalist Connor Barnardo in the 400 free. Trudel touched with a 4:11.91, just 0.03 seconds ahead of Barnardo’s 4:11.94. Nicholas Purdy rounded out the top three with a 4:13.13.

Trudel’s other two wins in the 800 and 1500 freestyles came with times of 8:37.87 and 16:28.09, respectively. Those were both new nest times for Renaud, getting under the 8:43.42 800 free he swam in December 2022 and the 16:34.43 he posted in the 1500 last month.

Paul Orogo was another triple victor at the meet, beating out the field in all three backstroke events. Orogo swam three best times in the final, hitting a 26.41 in the 50 back, a 57.77 in the 100, and a 2:07.10 in the 200. Other winners on the boys’ side of the meet included Justin Jung in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes (1:06.93/2:20.60), Emile Thifault in the 200 butterfly (2:09.94), Holden Brock in the 2:12.14 in the 200 IM (2:12.14), and Eitan Issakov in the 400 IM (4:46.26).

Girls Meet

The 1500 freestyle doesn’t usually come down to the very last second, but that’s exactly what happened in the event at the girls’ meet. Sherbrooke’s Delphine Mercier and Bevin Toews battled it out, with Toews leading the way by a couple of seconds for the majority of the race. Towards the end, however, Mercier surged forward and pulled off the win, hitting a 17:43.15 to out-touch Toews’s 17:43.39. That winning time was a new PB for Mercier, improving upon the 17:56.33 she swam in February 2023. Toews had a similar PB to Mercier heading into this meet with a 17:53.50, meaning her time was also a new best.

Delphine Mercier also won the 800 freestyle at the meet, hitting a 9:14.99, and picked up a silver in the 400 freestyle. The winner of the 400 was CW’s Jessica Dreghici in a 4:28.35 while Mercier hit a 4:28.42 and Kailyn Firth a 4:28.88 for bronze.

Taya Hutchison from WAC swam her way to two gold medals without even hitting a PB. In the 50 free she won with a 26.21, leading a trio of girls under 27 seconds. Sylvia Statkevicius touched second with a 26.43 and Adele Miksa was third in a 26.65. The 100 freestyle featured the same podium in the same order with Hutchison, Statkevicius, and Miksa, hitting 56.39, 56.62, and 58.71. As previously mentioned, both of those swims were a bit slower than Hutchison’s best times in the sprint freestyles of 26.13 and 56.38.

Statkevicius also won the 200 IM at this meet, posting a 2:22.44, ahead of Julia Denes’ 2:23.46 and Kamila Blanchard’s 2:23.49. In the 200 freestyle, Hutchison did swim a best time of 2:06.24 but wasn’t fast enough to catch champion Statkevicius who notched a 2:02.10.

In the 200 backstroke, Lilian Ljuckanov was leading the field at the 100-meter mark, splitting a 1:09.20. That was faster than Aliyah Bloom’s 1:10.02 split. On the back half, however, Bloom managed to overtake Ljuckanov and surged to victory, getting to the wall in a 2:22.00 to defeat Ljuckanov (2:23.20) by over a second.

Bloom and Ljuckanov were both absent from the 100 backstroke podium but Ljuckanov did race in the final, placing 6th in a 1:06.70. The only girl to crack 1:06 in the event was HYACK’s Paige Korbley who posted a 1:05.16, out-touching Vanessa Xia of Oakville (1:06.12) by nearly a second. Emma Ducharme was third in a 1:06.19.

The 100 and 200 butterflies also had different victors, but Kaitlyn Luu managed to find her way onto both podiums by placing first in the 200 and third in the 100. En route to a gold medal, Luu hit a 2:21.05. That time was a touch faster than the 2:21.62 she posted last year in Pointe-Claire. She dipped under 2:22 as her fellow medal winners Maria-Theoni Karagiannis and Aneshka Frickleton swam a 2:22.23 and 2:24.02, respectively.

In the 100 butterfly, Luu swam a 1:04.21, which was good enough for bronze. Eunice Cheung topped the field with her 1:03.51, while 100 backstroke champion picked up another gold in the butterfly event with a 1:03.51.

Other events winners across the four-day meet included Shanelle Beaudoin in the 100 breaststroke (1:12.78), Julie Nolan McCarthy in the 200 breaststroke (2:41.35), and Willow Coburn in the 400 IM (5:03.18).

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2 months ago

Congrats Laon on this incredible achievement!

"We've got a boilover"
2 months ago

Paul Orogo and Justin Jung also from Hyack, coached by Andrew Lennstrom.

2 months ago

Amazing times! However, given a doping incident that was witnessed by so many kids, it would be healthy for the sport and fair to the athlete and his competitors if the federation would somehow address it

Reply to  AllSwimFan
2 months ago

What doping incident??

Last edited 2 months ago by SwimLover
Reply to  SwimLover
2 months ago

Athlete refusing to do a doping test

Reply to  AllSwimFan
2 months ago

Who? Elaborate. If it was witnessed by so many people, then spill some deets.

Reply to  ScovaNotiaSwimmer
2 months ago

As far as I know, the kid’s mother requested him not to be tested. I have very mixed feelings about this loophole 🙁

Reply to  SelP
2 months ago

You are not talking sense