Kierra Smith makes splash at Canadian swimming trials

Kierra Smith makes splash at Canadian swimming trials
The native of Kelowna, B.C., won the women’s 100-metre breaststroke in a personal-best time of one minute 6.54 seconds at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. That qualified Smith for the Canadian team that will compete at the world championships later this summer in Gwangju, South Korea.

On Wednesday night, Smith finished first in the women’s 200-metre breaststroke, but was disqualified from the race.

“I’m so relieved, it was another great swim,” Smith said. “I was proud of my swim (Wednesday night) and happy to get on the team.

“I swam really fast (Wednesday night) and so I knew I could come back and have a great swim.”

Smith said it wasn’t hard for her to put Wednesday’s heartbreak aside.

“You have to put it behind you,” she said. “That’s what having back-to-back events is.

“I had a great swim, I had a terrible day but you just kind of take that for what it is.”

Winnipeg’s Kelsey Wog was second in 1:07.54, while Regina’s Rachel Nicol took third in 1:07.94. Wog was also second in the women’s 200m breaststroke Wednesday night.

The women’s 100m freestyle was the marquee event of the night with both Taylor Ruck of Kelowna, B.C., and Toronto’s Penny Oleksiak in the eight-swimmer final. Oleksiak won four medals at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, while Ruck captured a record eight medals at last year’s Pan Am Games in Australia.

Ruck completed the opening 50 metres in 25.79 seconds for the lead, then held on to claim the victory in 53.26 seconds. Oleksiak was second in 53.60, while Toronto’s Kayla Noelle Sanchez took third in 54.22.

Fourth-place finisher Margaret MacNeil of London, Ont., (54.51) also qualified for the world championships. Ruck and Oleksiak will swim in individual events in Korea with Sanchez and MacNeil joining them on the 4x100 freestyle relay squad.

On Wednesday night, Ruck, 18, finished second to Kylie Masse, of LaSalle, Ont., in the women’s 100m backstroke.
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