A strong Canadian swim team finished the first of five nights at the pool with medals in all six events, including three gold.
GOLD – Women’s 100m freestyle
The crowd roared as the swimmers marched out and she grinned. Then the crowd and Chantal Van Landeghem fought their way to a comeback gold.
The 21-year-old from Winnipeg won in a national and Pan Am record time of 53.83 seconds. She becomes the first Canadian woman under 54-seconds and now has the 10th-fastest time in the world this season. The former record of 54.08 was Olympian Erica Morningstar‘s from 2007 worlds.
The crowd was delirious, treated to a home team win in the first final of the Pan Am swim meet. Van Landeghem passed American and 12-time Olympic medallist Natalie Coughlin, who broke the Pan Am record in the heats and finished second with a 54.06. Early leader Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace of the Bahamas was third with a time of 54.15 seconds.
Toronto’s Michelle Williams finished the final in fourth-place.
SILVER – Men’s 100m freestyle
Silver for Santo.
Canada’s Santo Condorelli couldn’t quite follow Van Landeghem, racing to silver in a time of 48.57 seconds. It was Argentina’s Federico Grabich’s night, with his 48.26-second win. Brazil’s Marcelo Chierighini was won the bronze medal in a time of 48.80 seconds.
Calgary’s Yuri Kisil was sixth.
GOLD – Women’s 200m butterfly
It was wire to wire for veteran Audrey Lacroix.
The 31-year-old had over a half-a-second lead at the 100m wall, and though silver medallist American Katherine Mills would threaten, Lacroix would not relinquish a millilitre of hope. The Olympian touched with a time of 2:07.68, Mills went 2:09.31 seven one-hundredths of a second ahead of Brazil’s Joanna Maranhao.
It is one of swimming’s toughest races, again, the crowd was deafening in support, “By the end of the race I couldn’t hear that much I was way too in my own world, praying that the wall would come,” said Lacroix, also a Commonwealth Games champion (2014).
After, the 15-year national team veteran made her intentions clear, “Rio is the destination.”
BRONZE – Men’s 200m butterfly
The local boy had the swim of his life and it earned him a bronze medal.
Team co-captain Zack Chetrat, from Oakville and studying at the University of Toronto, attacked the four-lap race and hung on for third. He broke the national record by 11 one-hundredths of a second, swimming 1:56.90. For Canadian fans, it may not have mattered, Cortes Island, BC’s Alec Page was fourth.
It mattered a lot to Zack Chetrat who was gleeful throughout the post-race festivities. He pointed to friends and family. He grabbed a Canadian flag to celebrate. “Everybody I know is in the stands right now and that’s a really special feeling,” he said.
It sure looked like it.
Brazil’s Leonardo De Deus raced to, at the time, the second Pan Am record of the night, 1:55.01 narrowly beating Peru’s Mauricio Fiol effort of 1:55.15.
GOLD – Women’s 4x100m freestyle relay
The United States broke the Pan Am record in the morning. Team Canada would do it at night.
Sandrine Mainville, Katerine Savard, Chantal Van Landeghem, and Michelle Williams combined for 3:36.80 to break the hours-old mark. It was also a national-record swim by almost three-tenths of a second.
The Americans, top-seed with their morning swim of 3:37.28 were second at night, Brazil was third. The win made it two gold for 21-year-old Van Landeghem who narrowly missed the London Olympic team but has emerged as Canada’s next freestyle queen.
Men’s 4x100m freestyle relay silver
It was Brazil as Pan Am champs after they took away the Canadian lead mid-way through the 400m race.
The winners swam a time of 3:13.66, a Pan Am mark, while Canada arrived next in 3:14.32. The United States won their fourth medal of the night by taking bronze in a time of 3:16.21.
Santo Condorelli’s 47.98 second lead-off equalled the fastest time in the world this season.
The Canadian team finished the evening with six medals in as many events, competition continues tomorrow at the Pan Am Aquatics Centre.