Tessa Cieplucha, Canadian women's relay team strike gold at short-course worlds
Rebecca Smith claims silver in women's 200m freestyle
The Canadian women got off to a strong start at the world short-course swimming championship, capturing three medals, including a pair of gold on Thursday in Abu Dhabi.
Tessa Cieplucha claimed gold in the women's 400-metre individual medley in a personal-best effort.
Cieplucha from Georgetown, Ont., grabbed the lead for good at the 250m mark and finished with a time of four minutes 25.55 seconds, which was 0.97 seconds ahead of Ireland's Ellen Walshe. American Melanie Margalis earned bronze with a time of 4:26.63.
"This is the last meet of the year, so I wanted to go out and give it my all," said Cieplucha. "That last leg was definitely painful, but I kept telling myself to keep going.
"I'm really happy with the race," added Cieplucha. "Coming into this meet I knew it would be one of the toughest fields. It is such a great feeling to start a busy week this way and hopefully I can carry the momentum."
The only other Canadian in the field was Bailey Anderson from Smith Falls, Ont., who placed fifth. She swam to a time of 4:28.97.
WATCH | Tessa Cieplucha swims to gold:
Canada ties for gold in 4x100m freestyle relay
Canada and the U.S., tied for gold in the women's 4x100m freestyle relay with a time of 3:28.52. Sweden finished third and earned bronze with a time of 3:28.80. It was a national record for the Canadian women.
Kayla Sanchez of Scarborough, Ont., started for Canada and gave them an early lead. She was followed by Olympic champion Maggie Mac Neil of London, Ont., who withdrew from her 100 back semifinal to be finely tuned for the relay final kept their short lead before Rebecca Smith entered the water and extended Canada's advantage by nearly two seconds.
As the anchor, Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., swam a solid time but American Abbey Weitzeil had the fastest lap and caught up to the Canadian at the wall.
"I was shaking on the blocks. I knew I was the slowest on the team, but I had a job to do at the end and I wanted to keep our first-place position," said Savard. "I didn't breathe the last couple of strokes because I just wanted to touch the wall."
WATCH | Canada ties for gold in 4x100m freestyle relay:
Smith earns silver in women's 200m freestyle
Earlier in the day, Rebecca Smith won a silver medal in the women's 200m freestyle final.
Smith, from Red Deer, Alta., swam to a time of 1:52.24 which is a short-course Canadian record. However, it was still 1.93 seconds back of Hong Kong's Siobhan Haughey, who had a world-record time of 1:50.31 to claim gold. American Paige Madden won bronze with a time of 1:53.01.
WATCH | Smith claims world short-course championship silver:
"To be in in the middle lane for a final made me nervous, but a good nervous," said Smith. To swim in a world record race and get a best time is so exciting."
Summer McIntosh, from Toronto, the other Canadian in the field finished fifth, finishing with a time of 1:53.65.