Downing flies to gold, silver at B.C. Championships

Whitehorse Glacier Bear MacKenzie Downing might be ranked second in B.C. for the 200-metre butterfly but she was tops at the province's senior championships at the University of British Columbia over the weekend.

Whitehorse Glacier Bear MacKenzie Downing might be ranked second in B.C. for the 200-metre butterfly but she was tops at the province’s senior championships at the University of British Columbia over the weekend.

The 25-year-old won gold at the Vancouver event in the long course meet.

“I was just really happy with the times I posted,” said Downing. “In meets like this, you never know who is going to be there so I’m usually more concerned with the times and the placings.

“I was definitely happy to win the 200 and I was happy with my time in the 100 as well.”

Downing also reached the podium in the 100-metre butterfly – another event she’s ranked second in – taking silver with a time of one minute, 0.9 seconds.

For the gold, she swam a 2:11.0, less than a second off her best this season.

“The 200 was a really fast time,” said Downing. “It was actually faster than I went at the World University Games in the summer. So it’s really encouraging to be in such good shape at this point in the year.

“At this meet they also give money out for the top-five swims and that tied me for third. So that was really encouraging.

“They weren’t personal best times, but they were definitely really good times for me this early in the season,” she added.

“My 200 was already top-50 in the world. It was just a really good swim for me this early in the year.”

At the championships, Downing also swam in the 50-metre butterfly and 100- and 200-metre freestyle. In the freestyle events, she didn’t advance and in the 50-fly, unhappy with her time, she decided to scratch.

“I was focused more on the butterfly; the freestyle I just swam in the preliminaries to get some metres in,” said Downing. “But my butterfly was really good. I was really happy with it.”

Downing currently trains at the Victoria Academy, a national training centre. Having finished her time swimming for the University of Victoria, she decided to go back to representing the Whitehorse Glacier Bears Swim Club.

Also a member of Canada’s national team, Downing has competed at three World University Games, the 2007 World Championships, two Pan Pacific Games and made two finals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

At the 2011 World University Games this past summer, Downing was named Canada’s flag bearer for the opening ceremonies before making the final of the 200-metre butterfly.

The weekend before the B.C. Senior Championships, Downing won gold in the 200-fly at the Christmas Cracker Invitational in Victoria, B.C.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com