Carmen Whelan put together four solid routines on the final day of competition at the Elite Canada rhythmic gymnastics meet, claiming her first all-around senior title with a total of 122.100 points in Richmond, B.C., on Sunday.
Whelan, who qualified first in a field of 15 on Saturday, also swept three of four gold medals available in the individual apparatus finals with top scores in the hoop, ribbon and clubs events.
'I think the key to my strong finish was my frame of mind. In the final I just wanted to let go and be myself.' - Rhythmic gymnast Carmen Whelan on winning her 1st all-around senior Elite Canada title
"I've never been national senior champion before so it's just unreal to me right now," Whelan, a native of Aurora, Ont., who competed at the world championships and Toronto Pan Am Games last year, told Gymnastics Canada.
"I think the key to my strong finish was my frame of mind. I was playing it too safe at the beginning and in the final I just wanted to let go and be myself and make myself happy."
Sunday's performance ended Whalen's three-day, see-saw battle with Toronto's Katherine Uchida, who captured all-around silver with 118.550 points and added three medals in the apparatus finals – gold in the ball event and silver in ribbon and clubs.
Uchida said she isn't surprised by the close competition with Whelan.
'We're both strong gymnasts'
"We're both strong gymnasts and it always comes down to who does the best routines on that day," she said. "It just depends on who is more consistent."
Vancouver's Cindy Huh finished third with 112.450 points.
In the junior final, Montreal's Alexandra Chtrevenskii won four of five events, taking the all-around and three of four apparatus finals.
Natalie Garcia of Mississauga, Ont., was the only other junior athlete to reach the top of the podium after she edged Chtrevenskii by one-tenth of a point to prevail in the clubs final.
The top three competitors in the junior and senior finals earn a berth on the Canadian team travelling to the Pacific Rim Championships in the United States in April.