When she was 12, Kierra Smith met Annamay Pierse, who asked about Smith’s times in their shared event, the 200m breaststroke, and cheered her on in competition. That encouragement from the Canadian who went on to set the world record made Smith want to represent Canada herself. She got that chance in 2011 at the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara and came home with a silver medal from the 4x100m medley relay. Smith qualified for her first senior national team in 2014 which allowed her to compete at the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships. She just missed the podium in her individual specialty, finishing fourth in the 200m breaststroke at both events, but was a part of the 4x100m medley relay team that won a pair of bronze medals. Having helped the University of Minnesota win three straight Big Ten Championships in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Smith was crowned NCAA Champion in the 200 breaststroke in 2015 and was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Year. At Toronto 2015, she won gold in the 200m breaststroke in Pan Am record time, sharing the podium with silver medallist teammate Martha McCabe. She also made her FINA World Championship debut in 2015, advancing to the final of the 200m breaststroke.
Getting to know…
Family: Parents Andrew Smith and Jo-Ann McLellan are both real estate agents… Her father has done three Ironman triathlons… Younger brother Emmet runs cross-country…Getting into the Sport: Took swimming lessons at age 3… Started swimming competitively at age 10… Would go swimming in the morning with her father while he trained before eventually joining the club… Outside Interests: Has completed three years of a double major in psychology and communications at University of Minnesota… Would like to become a sports psychologist… Enjoys studying at Starbucks and going to the beach in Kelowna… Works at Trü, a frozen yogurt shop in Kelowna, during the summer… Enjoys watching Netflix… Odds and Ends: Nickname: Smitty… Pre-race ritual includes numerous checks of Twitter and listening to Gwen Stefani… Collects Starbucks mugs with the names of the cities she visits…
Notable International Results
FINA World Championships: 2015 – 8th (200m breaststroke), 21st (100m breaststroke)
Pan American Games: 2015 – GOLD (200m breaststroke); 2011 – 5th (100m breaststroke), SILVER (4x100m medley relay)
Pan Pacifics: 2014 – 7th (100m breaststroke), 4th (200m breaststroke), BRONZE (4x100m medley relay)
Commonwealth Games: 2014 - 7th (100m breaststroke), 4th (200m breaststroke), BRONZE (4x100m medley relay)