AUSTIN, TEXAS – Mary-Sophie Harvey pointed to the depth of the Canadian women’s swim team as a factor after winning the women’s 400-metre individual medley at the Pro Swim Series meet.
At the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, the 17-year-old Harvey (Intensive Training Program-Montreal/Neptune Swimming Club) won in a career-best four minutes 37.89 to lead a podium sweep with Olympians Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson (4:39.51, silver) and Sydney Pickrem (4:44.40, bronze). It was the first of three Canadian golds on Saturday; Rio Olympics medallists Hilary Caldwell (2:09.76 in 200-m backstroke) and Michelle Williams (25.16 in 50-m freestyle) also evinced solid early season form.
“When I dove in I got water in my goggles and I kind of freaked out a little because I don’t like water in my goggles,” said Harvey, who also garnered silver in 400-m freestyle on Friday. “I was basically trying to get my mind together but the first 200 (metres) was okay. Erika did a really great job of going out fast and that really helped me catch up in the last 200, the breaststroke and the freestyle.
“It’s good to be competing against people from your country who are going fast – our team is really strong right now,” added Harvey, who pared more than two seconds of her previous best time in 400-m IM. “I really feel like I’m going in the right direction.”
“It’s good to be competing against people from your country who are going fast – our team is really strong right now, I really feel like I’m going in the right direction.”
Caldwell, of Victoria, B.C., pulled away from American Eva Merrell (2:10.22, silver) over the second 100 metres. Mackenzie Glover, an 18-year-old from Winnipeg, clocked 2:11.18 to collect bronze.
“There is less pressure than the Olympics, of course, but it still felt good,” Caldwell said to NBC Sports Network. “It’s my first long course meet of the year – I love swimming long course – and there was a good push all the way.”
Williams, part of the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Ontario training group that was the nucleus of the 4×100-m relay bronze at Rio, swam an assured race. The 26-year-old veteran didn’t even take a breath.
“For a swim in January, it was pretty good,” Williams said to usaswimming.org. “It’s so exciting being part of this team with so many up and coming young swimmers.
Yuri Kisil was just out-touched in men’s 50-m freestyle, taking silver in 22.46 behind Japan’s Shinri Shioura (22.44, gold). Kisil also produced a bronze-worthy 49.51-second 100 free on Friday.
University of Calgary Dinos third-year Tristan Cote prevailed in a bronze battle in men’s 400-m IM, stretching out to touch at 4:21.42 and edge Nitro’s Sean Grieshop by .05 seconds.
Friday’s Canadian highlight was women’s 100-m freestyle, where HPC – Ontario’s Kayla Sanchez (55.19, silver) and Alexia Zevnik (55.21, bronze) of LaSalle, Que., paced a fierce five-Canadian contingent in the final. All five swam under 55.5 seconds.
Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., also earned the 100-m butterfly silver on Friday in 59.24 seconds.
The meet wraps Sunday and a webcast is available at usaswimming.org.