Maxine Clark Sweeps 100, 200, 400 Freestyles At Western Canadian Championships

by Ben Dornan 0

March 26th, 2023 Canada, International, News

2023 Speedo Western Canadian Championships

  • March 16 – 19, 2023
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Long Course Meters
  • Results Page

The 2023 Speedo Western Canadian Championships took place in Calgary, Alberta 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.

Girls Meet

On the first day of the meet, Maxine Clark started with a victory in the 200 freestyle, swimming a 2:05.27 to beat silver medalist Milena Cosic by more than three seconds. Cosic hit a 2:08.61, while Ruby Kehler rounded out the top three with a 2:09.93. Clark holds a PB in this event of 2:03.47 from last year at the Canadian Championships.

Clark followed up the 200 freestyle win with another top time in the 100 freestyle final on day two, posting a 58.72 for the gold medal. Like she was in the 200 freestyle, she was a bit slower than her best time here, which is a 56.76 from August 2022. Her margin of victory was a bit narrower here as Matea Gigovic notched a silver medal-winning 58.31. 200 free runner-up Cosic got on the 100 free podium with her 59.25.

Gigovic swam to victory later on in the meet in the 100 butterfly, posting a 1:03.04 to beat Taryn Weatherhead‘s 1:04.37 by more than a second. She also won the 50 freestyle with a near-PB of 26.57, out-touching Taylor Ginther and Carolyne Jia who both swam a 27.02 to tie for second. Weatherhead followed up that 100 fly performance with a victory in the 200 fly on the final day of the meet, hitting a 2:24.32 while Jessie Carlson hit a 2:23.59 for second place.

On day three, Maxine Clark kept the ball rolling by hitting a 4:30.46 in the 400 freestyle to out-swim Calli Saunders‘ 4:32.03. Clark holds a best time in this event of 4:20.96 from last year.

Both Lea Nugent and Mikayla Laurin made it onto the podium in both the 100 and 200 backstrokes. In the 100, Nugent placed second with a 1:05.06 and Laurin was third with a 1:05.67. They both finished behind UCSC’s Sienna Rodgers who won with a 1:04.04. Notably, Nugent was a bit faster in the 100 during prelims when she cracked 1:05 with a 1:04.77.

100 backstroke champ Rodgers failed to qualify for the 200 backstroke A final, landing a spot in the B final. In her absence, Nugent took gold by more than three seconds with a 2:18.93. Rachel Wigginton earned the silver medal with her time of 2:22.03 and Laurin got her second backstroke bronze with a 2:22.20. Rodgers’ B final-winning time of 2:22.34 would have been good enough for fourth in the A final.

In addition to the two she picked up in the backstroke events, Mikayla Laurin took home a bronze medal in the 200 breaststroke. The battle for second place was tight as three girls touched between 2:45.22 and 2:45.55. Sonia Bakhshi had the #2 time overall with that 2:45.22, followed by Laurin’s 2:45.40, and Layne Birbeck‘s 2:45.55. The champion was Rowyn Biffart who notched a 2:38.82 to win decisively and beat her best time of 2:43.48 from earlier this month.

Biffart returned to the podium in the 100 breaststroke when she swam a 1:15.22 for third place. Hayleigh Haines won with a 1:13.96, which was her first time under 1:14. Her best time in the event was previously the 1:14.34 that she swam earlier in March 2023. Abigail Clark swam a 1:14.14 for silver, followed by Biffart’s 1:15.22.

Other event winners included Naomi Mynott in the 800 freestyle (9:34.42), Rachel Winnington in the 200 IM (5:04.61), and Calli Saunders in the 1500 freestyle (17:59.77).

Boys Meet

The boys meet got off to an exciting start when four boys swam between 1:58.18 and 1:58.46 in the 200 freestyle. The four-way battle ended with a win from Alvin Chan who hit that 1:58.18, significantly improving upon his morning swim of 2:01.40. Jihoon Bae was the co-top seed with Aiden Kirk heading into the final as they both swam a 1:58.84 during the heats. Bae took the silver medal with a 1:58.29, followed by Zackary Bowie with a 1:58.45, and Kirk with a 1:58.46 for fourth.

Alvin Chan returned to the podium in the 100 freestyle, hitting a 53.56 for bronze. The leading trio all managed to crack 53 seconds and just over half a second separated them. Wells Ginzer took gold, hitting a 53.02, which was a bit slower than his morning swim of 52.91 and his best time of 52.83 from 2022. The silver medal went to River He with a 53.39, followed by Chan. Both Kirk and Bae raced in the 100 freestyle final later on in the meet as well, but neither made the podium as they touched in 4th (54.39) and 6th (55.37), respectively.

The 50 freestyle featured the same top two as the 100 as Wells Ginzer touched first in a 23.92, getting him under 24 seconds for the first time. Silver went to He with a 24.58 and the bronze medalist was Jared Moore in a 24.75.

Improving upon his 4th place finish in the 200, Aiden Kirk swam to victory in the 400 freestyle final, which came down to the final few seconds. Kirk stopped the clock in a 4:09.28, just about half a second quicker than Zachary McLeod‘s 4:09.71. That time for Kirk is slightly slower than his best time of 4:08.40 from earlier this season. Tanner Cole swam a 4:10.64 for the bronze medal, out-touching 4th place swimmer Zackary Bowei (4:10.75).

While he didn’t sweep the distance events, Kirk continued to perform in the freestyle events by placing second overall in the 1500 freestyle with a 16:40.02 and third in the 800 with an 8:44.39.

Before taking the silver medal in the 100 freestyle, River He won the 200 breaststroke by just 0.14 seconds on the first day of the meet. He entered the meet with a 2:29.64, swam a 2:35.86 for 6th place in the prelims, and then got down to a 2:26.82 in the final to establish a new best time and win a gold medal. He narrowly defeated the top seed heading into the final Cohen Chan who came in with a 2:26.96 for the silver medal. Felix Antoine Lemay rounded out the podium with a 2:27.81.

The 100 breaststroke featured an entirely different set of medalists than the 200 as Tanner Cole (1:05.32), Ivan Sun (1:07.69), and Tam Doan (1:07.75) took the top spots. Cole pulled off an impressive feat by winning another gold medal just a few events after the 100 breaststroke. Cole hit a 4:41.26 to win the 400 IM, ahead of Aiden Kirk’s 4:46.48 and Eliot Cayer‘s 4:50.10.

Cole’s winning time in the 100 breaststroke was a new best time by a fraction of a second, improving upon the 1:05.61 he swam in April 2022. In the 400 IM, however, he was just shy of his fastest-ever time of 4:35.91. which he swam in April of last year as well.

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