Downing misses spot at worlds by seconds

Whitehorse’s MacKenzie Downing was a few seconds away from making it to her second world championships on Thursday. The Glacier Bears swimmer placed fourth in the 200-metre butterfly with a time of 2:14.43.

Whitehorse’s MacKenzie Downing was a few seconds away from making it to her second world championships on Thursday.

The Glacier Bears swimmer placed fourth in the 200-metre butterfly with a time of 2:14.43 at the Swimming Canada World Championships Trials in Victoria, B.C.

She was 6.09 seconds behind second place’s Katerin Savard of Quebec, who captured the second and final spot in the 200-metre butterfly on Canada’s team for the FINA World Championships in Barcelona this summer.

“I was actually really happy with how I swam,” said Downing. “My training hasn’t been super great this year. I’ve been really busy trying to finish school, so my training definitely suffered a bit from that. I’ve been sick for the past couple of weeks too, so that didn’t help anything.

“Going into the meet, I really didn’t expect to make the worlds team. After Christmas I wasn’t in the right head-space to put in that kind of physical or mental effort.”

The Whitehorse swimmer, who was the only Yukoner at the trials, then placed seventh in the 100-metre butterfly with a time of 1:01.04 on Friday. Savard placed first.

Downing, who is finishing her final semester at the University of Victoria, still has a chance at making Canada’s team for the 2013 World University Games (a.k.a the Summer Universiade) this July in Kazan, Russia.

However, spots on the Universiade team are determined by performances in the February’s Canadian Interuniversity Swimming Championships, which Downing was no long eligible for, and last week’s trials.

Downing can make the team if swimmers who made Canada’s worlds team turn down the invitation to the Universiade.

“After Christmas (my coach and I) decided to focus on making the World University Games team instead,” said Downing. “Even that is a bit of a long shot.”

Downing has competed at the World University Games three times, winning a gold, silver and bronze at the 2007 Games in Bangkok, Thailand.

The 26-year-old swam at the 2007 FINA World Championships, making the semifinal in the 100-metre butterfly.

Downing will wait to see if she gets an invite to the Universiade, otherwise she is unsure about her future in swimming.

“I have no idea, I wasn’t thinking about anything past this meet,” said Downing. “I just wanted to see how it went, what teams I made. If I make the World University Games team I’ll swim through the summer … If I don’t make that team, I’m not really sure what I’m going to do.

“I’m not sure what I’ll be doing with my life outside of swimming when I graduate.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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