It only took the presence of one Yukoner for the territory to be represented on the podium at the 2012 Canadian Summer Nationals at the Edmonton Keyano Swim Club over the weekend.
Whitehorse Glacier Bears swimmer MacKenzie Downing, the only Yukoner at the event, won silver in the 100-metre butterfly, finishing the race in one minute, 0.41 seconds, shaving a second off her preliminary time.
“I was actually surprised, I wasn’t expecting to do that well,” said Downing. “I was happy with my time.”
The 25-year-old also made the B final of the 100-metre freestyle, placing 17th with a time of 57.76.
“It was just to get a warm-up for the 100 fly – to get a race in – to see how the race was going and that sort of thing,” said Downing. “It wasn’t my best, but I was happy with it. It was a good race.”
Downing was surprised by her silver-medal performance because she hasn’t been training a lot since coming up a fraction of a second short at the Team Canada Olympic trials at the end of March in Montreal.
“That’s why I didn’t have huge expectations going into this nationals because I had a lot of time off,” said Downing. “I’m just getting back into training now, so I’m surprised I did as well as I did.”
At the trials, Downing finished second in the 100-metre butterfly with a time of 58.86, just one-tenth of a second from Canada’s Olympic qualifying standard.
“Obviously, that was pretty disappointing, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes,” said Downing. “I was really happy with my race. It was pretty much as perfect as it could get. There wasn’t any particular moment where I was like, ‘I should have done this, I should have done this.’ It was a great race. It was a best time for me.”
The Canadian national swim team member won a bronze in the 200-metre butterfly and a gold in the 4×100 medley relay at the U.S.A. Austin Grand Prix at the start of the year. In December she won a gold in the 200-metre butterfly and a silver in the 100-metre butterfly at the Swim B.C. Senior Championships. She won bronzes in the 100- and 200-metre butterfly events at last year’s Summer Nationals.
The University of Victoria student has held seven national titles over her career and has competed at the Commonwealth Games and the Pan-Pacific Games.
Downing will continue to compete next season, perhaps going for Canada’s world championship team or Canada’s Summer Universiade team.
“I took this summer to regroup and I’m excited to get back into training in the fall,” said Downing.
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