Rebecca Smith Torches 100 Free at 2015 Canadian Age Group Championships

Jul 18, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Canada athletes cheer during the men's swimming 1500m freestyle final during the 2015 Pan Am Games at Pan Am Aquatics UTS Centre and Field House. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Erich Schlegel/USA Today Sports Images

Red Deer’s Rebecca Smith continued tuning up for the World Junior Swimming Championships with a decisive 100-metre freestyle victory Thursday at the 2015 Canadian Age Group Championships. Concomitantly, 13-year-old Jade Hannah made an ever-widening ripple at the Laval University Sports and Physical Education Pavilion (PEPS) aquatics centre with her third win in two days.

Smith, of the Red Deer Catalina Swimming Club, won 15-year-old girls 100-m freestyle in 55.99 seconds, more than a full second ahead of second-place Molly Gowans (57.31) of University of Victoria – Pacific Swimming Club. The teenager was buoyed by the result, believing that it is a good omen for her trip to the World Junior meet in Singapore in late August. Smith’s time also outpaced 16- to 18-year-old girls winner Meryn McCann of the Etobicoke Swim Club, who touched at 57.14 seconds.

“I have been training very hard toward this and I’m very happy with how it turned out,” said Smith, who will also compete in the Canadian Swimming Championships next week in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. “I have been working a lot on my turns and pushes off the wall and that went well. I think it’s my second-best time. I’m pretty happy with it.”

Smith’s potential was recognized in May when she was chosen for Swimming Canada’s female relay initiative, competing at the Charlotte Pro Swim Series meet.

“Being with everybody, to see who I would be swimming on a relay with, has really helped me,” she said. “The main focus is on World Juniors.”

Hannah, of the Halifax Trojan Athletic Club, won 13-year-old girls 50-m backstroke. Hannah, whom next week will be the rare 13-year-old to compete at the Canadian Swimming Championships, touched at 30.76 seconds to edge Windsor Aquatic Club’s Renee Liu (30.99). Hannah said she finished the day better than she started it.

“I feel like my friends are a big part of this,” said Hannah, who set Nova Scotia provincial records on Wednesday when she won 100-m butterfly and 200-m backstroke. “They kept me motivated throughout this session. This morning wasn’t the greatest for some of my swims [during preliminaries]. They stayed right by my side and told me, ‘you’re going to come back.’ I have a whole bunch of people at home cheering for me, too. I’m pretty pumped about this. My overall goal is great times throughout the meet. I’m hoping to do well in all the flies and all the backs.

“We say we’re small but mighty,” Hannah added in reference to being one of 16 Nova Scotia swimmers among the some 860 competitors at Age Groups. “If we stick together, we’re going to accomplish great things.”

McCann and Tai Long Singh of the Winskill Dolphins each became repeat victors at the meet. McCann’s win gave her two in as many days. Singh won 15-year-old boys 100-m freestyle in 51.71, edging host province representative Guillermo Cruz Zuniga of the St. Lambert Swimming Team, who was second in an even 52 seconds. Singh also won the 50-m backstroke in his division for his third victory.

Another highlight of the night was a tie in 17- and 18-year-old boys 100-m freestyle between Raphael Marcoux of the hometown Rouge et Or Swim Club and Region of Waterloo Swim Club’s John Fauteux. They shared the gold medal after finishing in a dead heat at 51.73 seconds.

Friday night’s schedule includes finals in 100-m breaststroke, 200-m butterfly and 800-m freestyle.

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2015 Canadian Age Group Championships, Day 2 – Results