DOHA, Qatar — Canada’s women’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay team earned the country’s first swimming medal of this year’s world aquatics championships bronze on Sunday with a bronze.
The quartet of Rebecca Smith, Sarah Fournier, Katerine Savard and Taylor Ruck finished with a time of three minutes 37.95 seconds.
Ruck jumped in the water with Canada sitting fifth and charged down competitors from Poland and Italy to earn the medal for Canada. The Netherlands won in 3:36.61, followed by Australia in 3:36.93.
“Watching my teammates get in there and race hypes me up every time,” Ruck said. “Usually I don’t go last so going last gave me a bit of that, which the coaches were planning on happening.
“I’m just so grateful again to share this medal with them.”
Ruck and Smith now have seven career medals at long-course worlds, tied for fifth all-time among Canadians. Meanwhile it’s a first career medal for Fournier, a 27-year-old worlds rookie, and morning heat swimmer Ella Jansen.
“I think no one was expecting us to win a medal tonight. I think we did a really good job. We have (national) trials in May so we’re all training really hard for that,” said Savard, who earned her career third medal at her Canadian record seventh championships.
“We all have a chance to be part of the (Olympic) team and we’re going to work really hard to help Canada win another medal this summer.”
It was Canada’s third medal of the world championships. Artistic swimmer Jacqueline Simoneau won gold in the women’s free solo event on Tuesday and silver in the women’s solo technical competition on Feb. 3.
In women’s 200 medley action, Canadians Sydney Pickrem and Ashley McMillan both qualified for Monday’s final.
Pickrem had the second-best time among all semifinalists at 2:08.76, only behind American Kate Douglass (2:08.41). The 26-year-old Pickrem was 0.15 seconds off her personal best.
“I’m happy with that. I think I needed to feel a little bit of that pain today, but hopefully get a better crack tomorrow,” said Pickrem, working back from mental health struggles that caused her to miss last year’s worlds.
“It’s crazy how many times I’ve gone 2:08, 2:09 but I’ve been in different stages of my life. Just me as a person, I’ve been so different. I feel really confident where I’m at as a human and as a swimmer. So, it’s good to have it all kind of come into place a little bit.”
The 19-year-old McMillan, making her worlds debut, had a time of 2:12.23.
“I’m so grateful to be here and so excited to be in the final. It’s another opportunity to clean things up,” McMillan said.
“I was definitely really nervous but I just kept reminding myself I worked really hard to be here,” she said. “I’ve spent a lot of time watching this meet and wanting to be here so badly, so it’s just easier to manage things when you put them in perspective.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2024.
The Canadian Press