Swimmer Alexandra Gabor has, single-handedly, sparked a modern Yukon gold rush.
Thanks to Gabor’s masterful freestyle swimming abilities, the territory now has its first-ever gold medals at the Canada Summer Games, coming in the 400- and 200-metre events. The golds are added to the bronze she won on Tuesday, the first such medal the territory has ever won in the pool.
“I feel great – first gold medal for the Yukon, I think it’s amazing,” said Gabor, 16 minutes after winning the first gold in the 400-free on Wednesday in PEI. “I went in thinking I would go a little faster than that and be ahead by a lot more than a couple tenths (of a second), but under the circumstances I think it was a good race.
“There’s things I definitely need to work on for next season.”
Gabor’s time in the 400-free was 4:08.21, just one-tenth of a second ahead of second-place Jackie Keire from Ontario. In the 200-free on Thursday Gabor cruised in with a time of 1:56.33, about a second and a half ahead of Ontario’s Sinead Russell.
Although confident with her abilities, Gabor was wary about the toll the long season of swim meets has taken on her, having, among many others events, competed at the World Aquatic Championships in Rome and at the British Grand Prix Short Course in Leeds, both in just the last month.
“At the end of this season I wasn’t really expecting much to happen, because I’m dead tired,” said Gabor. “I’ve been on the road since the beginning of July. I had a week and a half off at home recently, but other than that it’s go, go, go.”
Because of her groundbreaking success, Team Yukon has named her the team’s flag-bearer at the closing ceremonies on Sunday.
“I thinks it’s good to show everyone that I’m here and, you know, watch out for me in the future,” said Gabor.
Tuesday’s bronze medal was won in the 100-free, setting a mind-blowing 55th BC record, 20 of which are still stand today.
Like most competitive swimmers these days, Gabor competes in the new controversial, performance-enhancing swimsuits that will be banned next year.
However, she feels she will continue to be a world-class swimmer with or without the suit.
“Even with all the (swim) suit controversy, I’m hoping my swimming will speak for itself and I’m still going to improve,” said Gabor. “The suits don’t make that much difference for me. I don’t have the right body type to wear it; some of the suits, like the Lazer, you need bigger hips, so it doesn’t fit everyone perfectly.”
On Friday, Gabor will be racing in the 800- and 50-metre freestyle races. Although the 200- and 400-metre are her strongest events, she’s confident she’ll still generate good results.
“I’m pretty confident in those – especially the 800,” said Gabor. “My sprint is good, but not as good as some others (for the 50-free). But in the 800 I feel my anaerobic and aerobics are a lot stronger than my sprinting.”
Gabor is not the only Yukon swimmer in Charlottetown making waves. Of the 15 Yukon swimmers, all of which are Whitehorse Glacier Bears club members, 35 personal best times have been set.
“I’ve had a lot of training since my last meet and we’ve had a lot more rest periods leading up to the meet, that helps a lot,” said Yukon’s Spencer Sumanik. “And we have the new suits that are being talked about a lot on the news.”
For most of the Yukoners, this is the biggest swim meet of their careers, which can account for some best times.
But it also helps to have packed stands with supporters from across Canada yelling their heads off during every race, said Yukon’s Kirsten Berube.
“You know that, somewhere in that crowd, it’s your team that’s cheering for you too, so you can faintly hear the Yukoners – we definitely get drowned out a bit,” said Berube.
“There’s lots of noise from everybody’s teams.”
Setting new personal standards, Berube took eight seconds off her 400-metre individual medley and three seconds off her 400-metre freestyle.
For results of all of Yukon’s swimmers, visit the Summer Games site at www.2009canadagames.ca.
Contact Tom Patrick at