World Championship teammates Kierra Smith of Kelowna and Jeremy Bagshaw of Victoria both came away with wins on the first night of the Western Canadian Open in Winnipeg.
Smith won the women’s 200 breaststroke posting a time of 2:26.15, winning the event by almost two seconds. Smith, who won the NCAA Championships in the 200 breaststroke last year, decided to red-shirt this year to focus on her goal of swimming in Rio, “I feel I have a lot more energy for swimming this year because I don’t have to worry about my studies,” said Smith, a Pan Am Games champion and world championship finalist in the event in 2015. “My schedule is less hectic which allows me to recover faster and that helps a lot. You don’t know how hard the life of a student-athlete is until you’re not one.”
Smith has been splitting her training time this year between Kelowna and the University of Minnesota.
Bagshaw won the men’s 200 freestyle in a time of 1:50.07, “There were a lot of positives in that race,” said Bagshaw. “I felt the pacing was really good. There’s still some small things to work out with turns and underwater. Still I kept my race in control. It’s a good sign for trials.”
In the women’s 100 backstroke Brooklyn Snodgrass of Cascade got the better of 2015 World Championship team member Hilary Caldwell of Island. Snodgrass won the event in a time of 1:01.28 followed by Caldwell who posted a 1:01.70.
The women’s 15 and under final was a tight race between Rebecca Smith of Red Deer and Maddie McDonald of WAC. Smith hit the wall in a time of 1:03.93 only 16 one-hundredths of a second ahead of McDonald who recorded a 1:04.09.
The 100 backstroke was Smith’s second victory of the night. Earlier in the session she took the 200 freestyle in a time of 2:01.75 beating her own 15 year old Alberta age group record of 2:01.96. Smith took the race by over five seconds and had the second fastest time of the evening overall. Molly Gowans of UVic-PCS was the only woman who swam faster winning the women’s 16 and over event in a time of 2:00.93.
Gowans went on to win the 800 freestyle in a time of 8:48.64.
Jaren LeFranc of KISU won the men’s 16 and under 200 breaststroke in a time of 2:22.55 followed by 13 year old Gabe Mastromatteo of KSS who posted a 2:22.55. Mastromatteo broke the 13-14 year old Ontario age group record of 2:22.72 set by Mike Mason in 1988.
Full results can be found here.