Alberta Ruins Ontario’s Relay Reign at Canada Games

By guest writer Julia Wilkinson-Minks (2008 & 2012 Canadian Olympian)

SHERBROOKE, Canada, August 7. RECORDS fell, and Ontario continued to put swimmers on the podium tonight at Canada Games, although Alberta did some damage of their own in Sherbrooke during finals.

Team Alberta finally put an end to Ontario’s relay reign and earned gold in the men’s 4×50 medley relay. The team of Joe Byram, Mackenzie Lubberding, Marshal Parker and Yuri Kisil finished in 1:42.95, comfortably ahead of Ontario, who took silver in 1:43.71. Ontario’s women, however, responded to this assault by taking their fourth straight relay victory of the meet, winning by over two seconds in 1:54.16.

In the 100 breaststroke, Quebec’s Antoine Bujold defeated the field by over a second, finishing in 1:03.25. Ontario’s Eli Wall was second in 1:04.25–just ahead of James Guest who finished in 1:04.29–narrowly preventing Quebec’s first 1-2 finish of the meet. Records returned to their regular fashion of falling when the women hit the water, and Erin Stamp of Ontario set a new meet mark of 1:11.40 en route to winning gold. This previous meet record of 1:11.52 was set by two-time Olympian and NCAA Champion Jillian Tyler back in 2005.

Evan White continued his winning ways, taking the men’s 100 butterfly in a new record time of 54.53. Silver medalist Edward Liu had broken the meet record in prelims, but saw was unable to stop his Ontario teammate from taking both the gold and the record this evening. Liu finished in 54.79, the only other swimmer who managed to break the 55-second barrier.

Alberta responded to Ontario’s 1-2 sweep in the men’s butterfly with a sweep of their own, taking gold and silver in the women’s 100 butterfly. 15-year old Lili Margitai lowered the meet record that her teammate Devon Bibault had set in prelims, touching first for Alberta in 1:01.09. Bibault took silver in 1:01.41. The previous meet record was 1:02.37 set by Elizabeth Collins back in 2001.

In the 200 freestyle, evidence of fatigue began to surface, with both records that had been set by lead-off swimmers of the 800 freestyle relay on day 1 managing to stand to see another four years. In the women’s 200 freestyle, the new meet record mark of 2:00.75 set by Victoria Chan was not even rattled by Kennedy Goss of Ontario. Goss won her second individual gold of the meet, however, finishing in 2:02.01, just out-touching B.C’s Emily Overholt who touched in 2:02.04; meet record holder Victoria Chan was third in 2:03.70.

In the men’s 200 freestyle, the record holder again failed to take gold, but managed to live on in the history books. Jonathan Brown of Alberta narrowly missed the mark set by Stefan Milosevic, taking first in 1:51.52. Milosevic’s record stands at 1:51.48, but he was unable to repeat that performance tonight, taking bronze in 1:52.49, only five hundredths behind silver medalist Teddy Kalp.

Joe Byram of Alberta won the men’s 200 backstroke in a new meet record of 2:02.07, barely holding off 100 backstroke champion Matthew Swantson, who was second in 2:02.11. 14-year old Meryn McCann of Ontario became the youngest gold medalist of this meet so far when she won the 200 backstroke in 2:14.33, lowering the meet record time of 2:15.39 that she had set in prelims.

In the men’s para 100 freestyle, British Columbia’s Dalton Boon bested Ontario’s Alexander Elliot for the gold medal: Boon finished in 58.67, Elliot in 57.04. Although Elliot’s time was faster, the medals are awarded based on points relative to the swimmer’s disability category. Kennedy Pasay of Alberta took the women’s para 100 freestyle in 1:13.40.

In the Special Olympics category, Magnus Batara of British Columbia won the men’s 50 backstroke in 35.73. Alberta’s April Lam won the women’s 50 backstroke in 44.40, just ahead of Miori Heanault of Quebec, who took second in 44.70.

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

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