INDIANAPOLIS â€” Olympic bronze medallist Hilary Caldwell of White Rock, B.C., won the gold medal and set this year’s world’s best time on Friday in the women’s 200-metre backstroke at the second stop on the Arena Pro Swim Series circuit.
The victory highlighted a five-medal evening for Canadian swimmers.
Caldwell clocked two minutes 8.68 seconds, producing a strong second half swim after ranking third at the halfway point.
“It was a great swim for me,” said Caldwell, who trains at Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centre- Victoria. “It’s the fastest I’ve ever gone at this point in the season so it’s looking pretty good for me heading into the world championship trials (next month). I was really happy with the consistency of my race. My fitness was very strong and I had a lot left for the end.”
China’s Yaxin Liu took the silver in 2:09.80 and Dominique Bouchard of North Bay, Ont., snared the bronze in 2:10.41.
Caldwell admits she’s gained plenty of confidence from her Olympic success last summer in Rio.
“It was a dream come true for me to win the Olympic medal,” she said. “It was the culmination of a lot of hard work and it was a great experience to race against those amazing women backstrokers.”
Canada also collected two medals in the women’s 200 freestyle won by Federica Pellegrini of Italy in 1:56.07. Kayla Sanchez of Ajax, Ont., a national youth team member, took the silver in 1:58.46 while Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., and Menghui Zhu of China tied for third at 1:58.78. Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., was seventh.
In the women’s 50 freestyle, Zhu took the gold in 24.97 edging Toronto’s Michelle Williams by a mere 0.01 seconds. Madison Kennedy of the U.S. was third in 25.16.
The Canadian Press