August 6th, 2015

KAZAN, Russia – A pair of Pan Am Games gold medallists advanced to semifinals for Canada Thursday at FINA World Championships.

Kierra Smith of Kelowna, B.C., and Winnipeg’s Chantal Van Landeghem both qualified through morning heats. They will represent Canada in the evening session, joining Santo Condorelli, who qualified for the men’s 100-m freestyle final Wednesday.

Smith was Canada’s top individual swimmer Thursday morning, advancing to the women’s 200-m breaststroke semifinals in 11th with a heat swim of 2:24.12.

“That’s my best time this season so far,” said Smith, who set a Pan Am Games record of 2:24.38 to win gold in Toronto last month. She also has a best time of 2:23.32 on her resume from last year’s fourth-place finish at Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia.

“I still have more left in me. I’m glad I got the first race out of the way with the 100 (Monday). All the nerves were gone, and I saw my coach Emil (Dimitrov) which made me really happy. I feel confident going into the semi,” said Smith, 21.

Japan’s Kanako Watanabe grabbed top seed at 2:23.29, followed by American Micah Lawrence, the returning bronze medallist, in 2:23.32. Returning silver medallist and world record holder (2:19.11) Rikke Moeller Pedersen moved through in sixth at 2:23.90.

Torontonian Martha McCabe was 21st at 2:26.51, a full two seconds off her silver-medal time from Pan Am Games. Another surprise was defending world champion Yuliya Efimova of Russia also missing the semifinal, finishing 17th at 2:16.11.

Van Landeghem moved on to the semifinals of the women’s 100-m freestyle with a time of 54.54, good for 13th position.

“That was the goal coming in,” said the 21-year-old, who set the Canadian record of 53.83 with her gold medal performance at Pan Ams.

“The time wasn’t great but I did what I needed to do to get in. Hopefully we can see that time come down a lot tonight. I’m going to go look at the race and talk to my coach. Maybe just finish a little bit stronger, I think I faded quite a bit coming home.”

Meanwhile, Michelle Williams was 20th with a time of 55.08.

In other morning action, the women’s 4×200-m freestyle relay of Katerine Savard, Aly Ackman, Emily Overholt and Kennedy Goss finished 11th in 7:57.31. That was more than two seconds faster than the team’s bronze medal performance at Pan Ams. Their Top-12 finish qualified a spot for Canada at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Day 5 finals begin at 10:30 a.m. ET Thursday. Sportsnet will have daily televised coverage on Sportsnet One. For more information and official results visit or 


Source : Swimming Canada