Canada Swims to Gold in Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay at Pan AM Games


Canada’s Mary-Sophie Harvey, Brooklyn Douthwright, Maggie Mac Neil and Katerine Savard captured Pan Am gold in the women’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay on Saturday in Santiago, Chile.

Mac Neil moved Canada from third to first as the quartet clocked a time of three minutes 37.75 seconds to beat the United States by 0.67 seconds.

Brazil took bronze with a time of 3:39.94.

Canada won silver in the same event at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, with a different team that also featured Mac Neil.  

GOLD MEDAL: Canada wins women’s 4x100m freestyle relay at Pan Am Games

Duration5:25The Canadian team of Mary-Sophie Harvey, Brooklyn Douthwright, Maggie Mac Neil and Katerine Savard swim to gold in Chile.

Canada’s men’s 4x100m freestyle team followed it up with bronze, with Javier Acevedo, Édouard Fullum-Huot, Stephen Calkins and Finlay Knox finishing in 3:15.83.

Brazil added to its medal haul with gold (3:13.51), while the U.S. picked up another silver with a time of 3:14.22.

Holmgren captures Canada’s 1st gold

Gunnar Holmgren of Orillia, Ont., has a Pan Am gold medal to add to his Canadian titles in mountain biking.

The 24-year-old earned Canada’s first podium finish in Santiago, Chile, beating Chilean Martin Kossmann and Brazil’s Jose Gabriel Marques De Almeida to the finish line in one hour 17 minutes 59 seconds in the men’s cross-country event. Kossmann was 53 seconds behind.

“I’m super proud, obviously,” Holmgren told CBC Sports after the race. “Canada has a big presence at these Games and I really hope [my victory is] motivating and inspiring for the rest of the athletes.”

A coffee enthusiast, Holmgren noted he might celebrate with an espresso martini.

“It is the off-season now,” he said, smiling, “so I’m looking forward to that.”

GOLD MEDAL: Canadian mountain biker Gunnar Holmgren rides to Canada’s 1st Pan Am Games medal

Duration4:07Mountain biker Gunnar Holmgren of Orillia, Ont., won Canada’s first medal of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games, a gold medal in the men’s Olympic cross-country final.

Holmgren moved into the lead on the third of seven laps and held it on the course at the Catholic University Sports Club northeast of the city.

He is part of the first family of Canadian mountain biking: mother Lisa was an elite racer, father Rob is a coach, sister Isabella is 2023 XCO and XC junior world champion and her twin sister Ava is also a regular fixture on the medal podium.

Jenn Jackson of Barrie, Ont., took the women’s race in 1:20:35 for her first major international victory. Catalina Kossman of Chile (1:23:20) and Raiza Goulão of Brazil (1:24:57) rounded out the medal podium, while Sandra Walter of Coquitlam, B.C., was seventh (1:30:48).

GOLD MEDAL: Jenn Jackson gives Canada double Pan Am gold in mountain biking

Duration1:48After Gunnar Holmgren of Orillia, Ont., won gold in the men’s Olympic cross-country final, Jenn Jackson of Barrie, Ont., captured gold in the women’s Olympic cross-country final.

Ranked 34th in the world, Gunnar Holmgren recently completed his strongest World Cup season, featuring several top-15 finishes in XCC, which consists of a 1 to 1.5-kilometre circuit course. He was also second at the Pan Am Continental Championships in the XCO and third in the XCC.

The XCO is short for cross-country Olympics and an off-road mountain bike race format held over undulating, mainly dirt-based circuits that riders complete several times.

In April, Holmgren picked up three medals at the Pan American Mountain Bike Championships in Brazil, including gold in team relay as Canada’s elite male entry.

“My goal is to go to the Olympics and bring home a medal for Canada,” he told Orillia Matters in May.

Orillia’s 2021 athlete of the year

He has spent the year focused on cycling and working on his coaching accreditation while helping train, mentor and lead more than 25 young, high-performance cyclists across the country.

Orillia’s 2021 athlete of the year began mountain biking at age 5. He joined Quebec-based Pivot Cycles in 2020 and has picked up a pair of top-10 finishes in the U23 division and four, top-30 elite results at the World Cup level.

Santiago 2023 Pan American Games: Day 2 early highlights

Duration26:02Watch morning highlights from day two of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.

Jackson, 28, said she was inspired by Holmgren’s performance in Chile. 

“It feels like a perfect day,” she told reporters. “There’s just that little bit of [motivation], seeing one of your friends [Holmgren], someone you grew up riding with achieve the best result they could here. … It just made me believe it’s my turn.

“I just got to the front, set my pace and just tried to have a really calm ride.”

Meanwhile, with her elite cross-country title in 2021, Jackson became the first Canadian champion of Asian descent.

Her competitive sporting career began as a cross-country skier. Jackson was junior national champion in 2015 and competed in the U23 world championships the next year.

In 2017, she was burned out and took a step back from high performance at 21, taking a job at a bike shop in the Barrie area. She placed second at the 2018 Canada Summer Games in mountain biking and later that year the Canada Cup overall series.

Tenth at the test event for the Paris Olympics next summer, she was also fifth at the American Continental Championships earlier this year.

Men’s gymnastics silver 

After achieving an elusive goal, the Canadian men’s gymnastics team dug into its reserves to get on the Pan American Games podium Saturday.

Canada qualified a team in Olympic men’s artistic gymnastics for first time in 15 years at the world championship in Antwerp, Belgium earlier this month.

Rene Cournoyer, Zachary Clay, Felix Dolci, William Emard and Jayson Rampersad were back on the rings, bars, floor, vault and pommel horse Saturday in Santiago, Chile, to take Pan Am silver behind the United States.

The five men claimed Canada’s first Olympic berth in men’s team gymnastics since 2008 by finishing fourth in qualification in Antwerp. They advanced to the Oct. 3 final to place seventh.

“We had the biggest rush of adrenalin that I ever experienced in my life in the sports,” Emard said.

The gymnasts had just enough days at home in Canada to feel the inevitable comedown before boarding a plane to Santiago, Chile.

“Riding the wave would be ideal. That’s not the reality, though. There’s always a huge crash after such a big event like worlds,” said Cournoyer, who was Canada’s lone male gymnast in Tokyo’s Olympics two years ago.

“We just recovered, that was the main goal, and then building it back up in order to come back here and show good gymnastics. I think we managed that pretty well, even if it was a huge challenge.”

More medals in the pool

Elsewhere Saturday, swimmers Rachel Nicol and Sophie Angus pushed Canada’s medal count to four in Chile, going one-two in the women’s 100-metre breaststroke.

The 30-year-old Nicol, from Lethbridge, Alta., touched the wall in one minute 7.28 seconds, 27-100ths clear of Angus, a Canadian-American swimmer. She was born and raised in Weston, Conn., but her father Bruce was raised in Calgary.

GOLD & SILVER MEDAL: Canada’s Rachel Nicol and Sophie Angus finish 1-2 in Pan Am Games 100m breaststroke

Duration4:59The Canadian pair topped the podium as Nicol grabbed gold and Angus scored silver at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.

Nicol rediscovered her happiness and confidence at the Swimming Canada Summer Nationals in Toronto, where she won the 50, 100 and 200 races. The 2016 Olympian collected bronze in the 4×100 medley relay at last year’s world championships.

In July, Angus was part of Canada’s women’s 4×100 medley relay team that earned bronze at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. The 24-year-old nearly quit competitive swimming in March 2022 but the dream of earning a world medal and qualifying for the Paris Olympics kept her motivated.

Calgary’s Caeli McKay secured the bronze medal in the women’s 10m platform diving event with a score of 335.65.

The 24-year-old, who led the qualifying round, was bested by the Mexican duo of Gabriela Agundez, who won gold with 361.55 points, and Alejandra Orozco, who tallied 340.80 for silver.

Fellow Canadian Celina Toth was 11th in the event (247.75).

Winnipeg’s Tae-Ku Park earned taekwondo bronze in the men’s 68-kg class. He’s competing at the Pan Am Games along with his two siblings Sklyar and Braven.

Source : CBC