Volleyball World - Athletics Canada/Kenny Zhong - Canada Artistic Swimming/Antoine Saito
Volleyball World - Athletics Canada/Kenny Zhong - Canada Artistic Swimming/Antoine Saito

Weekend Roundup: Leduc smashes 200m national record, artistic swimming team wins 7 World Cup medals at home

With just over 50 days to go before Team Canada competes at Paris 2024, many Canadian athletes enjoyed a successful weekend as they head into the home stretch of Olympic qualification.

The country’s newest sprint star, Audrey Leduc, took down her second national record in the last six weeks, while the consistency of shot putter Sarah Mitton was on display at the latest Diamond League stop. Canada’s artistic swimming team gave the home crowd a great show at the World Aquatics World Cup in Markham, Ontario. There was a momentous victory for Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team in rugby and the Canadian women’s volleyball team kept themselves in contention for their own Olympic berth.

Here’s a quick look at some of the moments you might have missed:

Athletics: Mitton wins Diamond League silver, Leduc sprints to another national record

World indoor champion Sarah Mitton earned her third Diamond League podium of the season, finishing second in Stockholm on Sunday. With a best throw of 19.98m, she missed out on the victory by a mere two centimetres. American Chase Jackson, the two-time reigning outdoor world champion, finished first with a throw of 20.00m.

READ: Sarah Mitton claims second place at Diamond League stop in Stockholm

Two other Canadians competed in Stockholm. Charles Philibert-Thiboutot placed seventh in the men’s 1500m while Jean-Simon Desgagnés was eighth in the men’s 3000m steeplechase after posting a season best time of 8:15.95.

Meanwhile in Atlanta, Audrey Leduc set her second national record in six weeks, this time in the women’s 200m. She ran 22.36 seconds to win the event at the Edwin Moses Legends Meet, taking 0.14 off the previous Canadian record held by Crystal Emmanuel since July 2017. In late April, Leduc erased a nearly 37-year-old Canadian record in the women’s 100m.

Artistic Swimming: Canada hauls in World Cup medals at home in Markham

In their tune-up for Paris 2024, Jacqueline Simoneau and Audrey Lamothe won two silver medals in the duet events, while Canada also won three medals in the team events at the World Aquatics Artistic Swimming World Cup in Markham, Ontario.

Simoneau and Lamothe scored 248.3350 to finish second in the duet technical routine by the smallest of margins — 0.0217 — behind Austrian sisters Anna-Maria Alexandri and Eirini-Marina Alexandri. In the duet free routine, Simoneau and Lamothe’s score of 246.5501 left them 7.2229 back of the victors, Moe Higa and Tomoka Sato of Japan.

Canada’s first team medal came in the technical routine on Friday as they finished second to China. That was followed by a silver in the team free on Saturday. Canada closed out the weekend with a bronze in the team acrobatic routine on Sunday. In addition to Simoneau and Lamothe, the team included Sydney Carroll, Scarlett Finn, Jonnie Newman, Raphaelle Plante, Kenzie Priddell, Claire Scheffel, and Florence Tremblay.

Simoneau also won two medals in the solo events, which are not part of the Olympic program. She took gold in the solo technical and silver in the solo free.

Rugby: Women’s team finishes fourth at SVNS Grand Final

Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team finished fourth at the 2024 SVNS Grand Final in Madrid. They posted a 2-1 record in pool play, defeating New Zealand and Great Britain to get into the semifinals. The win over New Zealand was particularly notable as a Canadian women’s sevens team had not done that since 2016.

In the semi against France, Canada was down 19-5 at the half. They rallied back, thanks to tries from Keyara Wardley and Asia Hogan-Rochester, the latter converted by Olivia Apps, but couldn’t complete the comeback, falling 19-17.

That put them into the third-place playoff game, where they faced New Zealand for the second time in as many days. The match started with Charity Williams scoring her 99th SVNS Series try, but it was the Black Ferns who took a 12-7 lead into the half. New Zealand scored early in the second half to go up 19-7, and though Apps scored a try that was converted by Chloe Daniels, the Canadians couldn’t fully close the gap and the Black Ferns went on to get the 26-14 win.

“All in all, this is a really positive weekend. This was the year of firsts and with beating New Zealand we’ve now managed and registered wins against every team on the world series this year. In Grand Finals you only play the best, and with us not starting the competition well against our North American rivals the USA, we made it difficult for ourselves, but had incredible composure, resilience and determination to get two wins against two top sides in Great Britain and of course the historical one against New Zealand [in pool play],” said Jack Hanratty, Head Coach of Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team. “We get to go home now really confident as we build for Paris. The hardest part now is to make our squad, which has been so robust this year, a little built smaller going into the crucial selection time over the next few weeks.” 

Canada’s men’s sevens team lost to Spain in the Challenger Playoffs and has not qualified for the 2025 SVNS Series.

Volleyball: Canadian women keep Olympic hopes alive

As they continue to pursue Olympic qualification, Team Canada went 2-2 during the second week of women’s Volleyball Nations League action in Arlington, Texas. The Canadian women’s team closed out the week with a 3-0 win over South Korea. They had also posted a 3-0 win over Germany, while taking losses against the United States and Serbia.

Canada sits at five wins and three losses heading into the third and final week of women’s Volleyball Nations League pool play, which begins June 11 in Fukuoka, Japan. Canada will play Italy, Japan, Netherlands, and France.

The world rankings on June 17 will determine the last five teams to qualify for Paris 2024. Canada is currently 10th in the world rankings. Only four of the teams ranked ahead of them — Italy, Japan, China, and the Netherlands — are also still in search of Olympic spots.

Golf: Two Canadians in top 10 at RBC Canadian Open

Two Canadians were in the top 10 ten when the RBC Canadian Open came to its conclusion on Sunday at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club. Corey Conners was the top Canadian, shooting a 65 in the final round to land at 12-under par, good enough for sixth place in the tournament.

Mackenzie Hughes, who had been tied for second entering the final round, dropped down to a tie for seventh after shooting 70 for an overall score of 10-under par. Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre earned an emotional first PGA Tour title with his father on the bag as his caddy.

The Olympic qualification period for men’s golf will close on June 17. Following the RBC Canadian Open, Nick Taylor and Conners are the two Canadians in position to qualify for Paris 2024.

Boxing: Wright one win shy of Olympic qualification

McKenzie Wright made it to the final eight at the Boxing Road to Paris 2nd World Qualification Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand. That was the last opportunity for Canadian boxers to qualify themselves for Paris 2024.

In the women’s 50kg event, Wright earned victories by unanimous decision over Argentina’s Aldana Lopez and Serbia’s Nina Radovanovic before meeting Mexico’s Fatima Herrera in the quarterfinals, where a win would secure an Olympic spot. Unfortunately, Wright couldn’t keep her streak going as Herrera got the unanimous decision.

Tennis: Auger-Aliassime matches best result at Roland-Garros

Third seed Carlos Alcaraz ended Félix Auger-Aliassime’s run in Paris, defeating the Canadian 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinals of the French Open. The Spaniard defeated Auger-Aliassime in a straight sets victory that took 2 hours and 20 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Auger-Aliassime’s run to the round of 16 matched his best result at Roland-Garros. He previously reached the fourth round just two years ago in 2022, but fell in five sets against 14-time champion Rafael Nadal.

Three other Canadians had made it as far as the third round before running into some tough seeded opponents. Leylah Fernandez fell to world No. 9 Ons Jabeur in straight sets. Denis Shapovalov fell to eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz in four sets and Bianca Andreescu was defeated by 12th seed Jasmine Paolini in three sets.

The ATP and WTA rankings at the end of the French Open next Monday will determine the direct acceptances for Paris 2024, which will also be played at Roland-Garros.