GWANGJU, South Korea – The FINA World Masters Championships ended on Sunday. The team of 55 Canadian Masters swimmers will be coming home with an impressive haul of 19 medals. The stars of the team were, without a doubt, Linda Hunt and Georgina Lopez, who medalled in every single event they swam.
Georgina Lopez is no stranger to the international stage. She has been competing at Worlds for over 30 years, her first ones being in Tokyo in 1986, and Gwangju was her sixth time competing since then. Her experience in Gwangju has been a successful one: she will be flying home with three gold medals, a silver medal, and a new Canadian record under her name in the 50-m freestyle; she took half a second off the previous record. She also beat the 50-m breaststroke national record.
“I’m still on cloud nine!” Lopez said about the meet. “Nothing comes easy. The secret is to be disciplined and passionate, and to work hard! Water is one of the things I love most, second only to my husband.”
Her experience in the superb venues motivated her to keep swimming and try to make it to Fukuoka, in Japan, in two years. Mike Morrow, Henry Vehovec and Maxime Maréchal-McCoy also set new Canadian records, in the 400-m IM, 50-m breaststroke, and 100-m freestyle and 50-m butterfly, respectively.
Linda Hunt will also be coming back with a little more than she left with. She won a gold medal, two silver medals, and two bronze medals.
“I competed at Worlds in Montreal in 2014, and I won bronze and silver medals there, but this year was the first time I won a gold medal. I am beyond thrilled with how it went! I would definitely like to compete again at Worlds, but I don’t know which ones yet,” said Hunt.
She also added that the meet was very well organized and moved along quickly, giving the athletes time to enjoy the Korean food and culture.
The meet was also a chance for younger athletes to live the Masters experience on a larger scale. Alienor De Steur, 26, was one of the youngest athletes on the team. De Steur used to compete at the national level in age group, but made the switch to Masters in recent years.
“I find the biggest difference is how welcoming and friendly everyone is in Masters, whatever your level and speed. I also remember being impressed with younger swimmers who were faster than me in age group; now, I’m impressed by older people who are way faster than me!” De Steur commented.
She had a great meet, with a fifth place (50-m backstroke) and two sixth place (100- and 200-m backstroke), some personal best times and a lot of new friends.
When asked if she would like to compete at Worlds again, De Steur simply said: “See you in Japan in 2021!”
For the full results, visit the Gwangju 2019 official website: http://wmc2019.microplustiming.com/swimming/index_web.php.
|Georgina Lopez (75-79)||50-m freestyle||Gold (Canadian + championship record)|
|50-m breaststroke||Silver (Canadian record)|
|Linda Hunt (65-69)||100-m backstroke||Gold|
|Alan Robert Morris (70-74)||200-m backstroke||Silver|
|Helena Wong Hing Lui (70-74)||100-m breaststroke||Silver|
|Mike Morrow (65-69)||400-m IM||Silver (Canadian record)|
|Maxime Maréchal-McCoy (30-34)||100-m freestyle||Bronze (Canadian record)|
|Sarah Woodworth (45-49)||100-m freestyle||Bronze|
|Henry Vehovec (60-64)||50-m breaststroke||Bronze (Canadian record)|