Julia Wilkinson Heather MacLean
Courtesy of: Julia Wilkinson-Minks
By guest writer Julia Wilkinson-Minks (2008 & 2012 Canadian Olympian)

POINTE-CLAIRE, Quebec, July 19. OLYMPIAN Heather MacLean is now three-for-three in her individual events, adding an unexpected 100 butterfly victory to her gold medal haul at Canadian Summer Nationals in Pointe-Claire.

MacLean is best known as a freestyler: a member of Canada's 4x100 freestyle relay in London and the former Canadian record holder in the 200 freestyle. When it came to winning the 100 butterfly, MacLean said that it was fun: "It was no pressure, I just went in and raced. I wanted to be a little faster but I haven't trained for that at all so I really can't complain." MacLean won the event in 1:00.75, the only swimmer in the race under the 1:01 barrier.


MacLean went on to say that she can't seem to find her stroke in freestyle, which is likely why she was not able to perform at the necessary level to qualify for World Championships in Barcelona. Although she has to cheer for Team Canada--which includes her younger sister Brittany--from home soil, she has a solid plan to move forward. She will take some time off to get a necessary wisdom teeth surgery, rest physically and mentally from a tough year, and then regroup for next season, eager to earn her roster spot on next year's National team.

On the men's side, Gamal Assaad took gold in the men's 100 fly in 54.94, followed by Rohan Jacobs in 55.11. This is Jacobs' second silver medal of the meet, after being out-touched in the 50 butterfly on Wednesday.

In the women's 400 freestyle, Alexandra Aitchison was able to maintain her first-place position throughout the race. On the first evening of competition, Aitchison was out fast in the 1500 freestyle, but was forced to settle for second after she was passed by Samantha Harding. Tonight, the roles were reversed and Harding took silver behind Aitchison: Aitchison finished in 4:15.22, more than a second ahead of Harding's 4:16.75.

In the men's 400 freestyle, Island Swimming--notorious for producing excellent distance freestylers (including Olympic medalist Ryan Cochrane)--took first, third and fifth. All three medalists finished within two tenths: Keegan Zanatta got to the wall first in 3:53.50, just ahead of the winner of the 800 freestyle earlier in the meet, Kier Maitland. Jeremy Bagshaw, who trains at the University of California during the school year, took bronze in 3:53.70.

Annie Harrison of the Oakville Aquatic Club won the 200 backstroke fairly handily ahead of 100 backstroke gold medalist Sydney Pickrem. Harrison touched in 2:12.11, Pickrem second in 2:14.62. On the men's side, it was a very close race for gold, and the Swanston streak was finally broken. Matthew Myers of Toronto Swim Club won in 2:00.36, Matthew Swanston took second--after winning both the 50 and 100 backstroke--only one hundredth behind in 2:00.37.

In the breaststroke splash and dash--the 50 breaststroke--Rebecca Terejko won the women's event in 31.87. On the men's side, 2010 Pan Pac Team member Warren Barnes earned his first gold of the meet in 28.25.

Club Aquatique Montreal won their second relay of this National Championships: the team of Leticia Lelli, Ariane Mainville, Sarah-Lee Hevey and Frederique Cigna took gold in 3:49.37. Cascade also took another relay gold, on the men's side: Anthony Lyons, Thomas Jobin, Yuri Kisil and Chad Bobrosky finished in 3:26.48.

Tomorrow is the final day of the meet in Pointe-Claire.

Julia Wilkinson-Minks is a two-time Olympian for Canada and was a finalist in the 200-meter IM at the 2008 Beijing Games. In 2010, she became Texas A&M's first ever NCAA champion in swimming when she won the 100-yard freestyle. She graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Speech Communication. Julia retired from competitive swimming following the London Olympic Games and now lives in Texas with her husband Shane.

Follow her on twitter @juliah2o




Results: Canada Summer Nationals: Day Three