It is the biggest swim meet outside of the Olympic Games, and the Yukon has a swimmer in it.
Early this week, Whitehorse Glacier Bear Alexandra Gabor competed in her first event at the World Aquatic Championships in Rome, Italy, finishing 20 out of 92 in the 200-metre freestyle.
“I’m glad I got a best time in the race, but I was definitely hoping for a lot better,” said the national team member in a media release. “I was really hoping for a second swim.”
In the race, Gabor set her 21st BC record (for girls 15-17 and senior categories), coming in at one minute, 58.63 seconds, just 0.2 seconds behind Canadian teammate Heather MacLean from Toronto. (Yukon swimmers are included in BC’s record book.)
At the age of 16, Gabor is the second youngest on the Canadian team.
“It used to be more common, but now there’s older swimmers swimming better and better,” said Glacier Bears head coach Marek Poplawski. “There’s a girl from Sweden who’s one of the best in the butterfly, so there’s a few of them, but not too many.”
Both Gabor and MacLean qualified for the Worlds last week at the World Championship Trials/Senior Nationals meet in Montreal. In the 200-metre freestyle Gabor finished second behind MacLean, setting her 20th BC record in the girls 15-17 category. MacLean set a national record in the event.
“I think it’s great she improved her time from Montreal,” said Poplawski. “With the calibre of the meet, you can imagine what type of pressure she’s under for a 16-year-old girl. I think she handled it very well; she rose to the occasion.”
On Thursday, Gabor and MacLean will compete together in the women’s 4×200-metre freestyle relay.
“If you look at the results from the 200 free, there’s not too many countries with swimmers ahead of the Canadians—Americans are, of course, one and two,” said Poplawski. “It looks like we have a chance at the finals.
“I think she can be more relaxed (than in the individual race) and do even better.”
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