Canadian Women Break 4×100 Free National Record In Wild Tie For Gold With U.S.


The Canadian women set a new National Record en route to tying with the United States for gold in the 4×100 freestyle relay on the opening night of action at the 2021 Short Course World Championships in Abu Dhabi.

In what was a wild four-team battle that went all the way down to the wire, Canada and the U.S. finished in a dead-heat for first in 3:28.52, with Sweden (3:28.80) and the Netherlands (3:28.86) close behind in third and fourth.

The Canadian team of Kayla SanchezMaggie MacNeilRebecca Smith and Katerine Savard combined to lower the previous Canadian National Record of 3:29.49, set in the prelims at the 2016 SC World Championships on home soil in Windsor, Ontario. (The Canadian team was disqualified in the final of that event for swimming the wrong order, though they were slightly slower than the prelims anyway in 3:29.62.)

Split Comparison

The splits between the two teams are eerily similar over the last three legs, with the clear difference coming on Sanchez’s lead-off.

Canada, 2016 SC Worlds Canada, 2021 SC Worlds
Sandrine Mainville – 52.72 Kayla Sanchez – 51.73
Alexia Zevnik – 52.12 (1:44.84) Maggie MacNeil – 52.07 (1:43.80)
Michelle Williams – 52.02 (2:36.86) Rebecca Smith – 52.11 (2:35.91)
Taylor Ruck – 52.63 (3:29.49) Katerine Savard – 52.61 (3:28.52)

Sanchez led off in 51.73, less than three-tenths off of her National Record of 51.45, which is also what Sarah Sjostrom split on Sweden’s opening leg to lead the field.

MacNeil (52.07) and Smith (52.11) then moved Canada into the lead, and after American Abbey Weitzeil had pulled ahead of Savard after the first 50 on the anchor leg, Savard charged home to tie Weitzeil at the finish. Weitzeil split over a second faster than Savard, 51.50 to 52.61, but the two were almost identical on the second 50 (27.55 for Savard, 27.57 for Weitzeil).

The U.S. team was just over eight-tenths off of the American Record of 3:27.70, which was set at the 2014 SC World Championships in Doha. Weitzeil was notably on that team as well, splitting nearly the same as she did here seven years later (51.57).

In addition to the gold and National Record in the relay, the Canadian women also had Tessa Cieplucha win gold in the 400 IM and Smith earn silver in a new National Record in the 200 free.

Canada last won a relay gold medal at the Short Course World Championships in 2016, earning victory in both the women’s 4×50 and 4×200 freestyle. This was their first-ever win in the 4×100 free, however.

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