By Sharon Robb
August 30, 2014—After just missing two medals, Canadian Alexandra Aitchison of Clearwater Aquatics won her first major international medal Friday night at the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships at Kihei Aquatic Center in Maui, Hawaii.
Aitchison won a bronze medal in the 400-meter freestyle in a lifetime-best 4:11.16. She lowered her previous best time of 4:13.33. Aitchison qualified sixth in morning prelims in 4:15.42.
In the final women’s event of the night, Aitchison anchored her country’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay that finished fourth in 3:45.79.
Aitchison is having a good meet for Canada. She just missed a medal in the 200-meter freestyle placing fourth in a lifetime-best 2:00.81. She was fourth in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:41.90, another lifetime-best.
Aitchison also qualified for the 100-meter freestyle “B” final (57.91) and 400-meter individual medley “A” final (4:55.08) but scratched for her team in order to swim the 800-meter freestyle relay where she swam leadoff for the relay that finished in 8:12.75.
In Saturday morning prelims, Aitchison was the 12th fastest qualifier in the 50-meter freestyle in a best time 26.74, dropping from 26.84 and will swim the “B” final. Aitchison is also the fifth seed in the 1500-meter freestyle.
Also in morning prelims, Swim Fort Lauderdale’s Emily Kopas was the fourth fastest swimmer in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:31.79 and will swim late Saturday night in the “A” final. She was the second U.S. qualifier.
U.S. teammate Alex Evdokimov of Coral Springs Swim Club also made the “A” final, qualifying eighth in a best time 2:17.70, dropping from 2:21.77.
Azura Florida Aquatics’ Mateo Gonzalez, representing Mexico, finished eighth in the 100-meter butterfly in 54.71, another lifetime-best. He qualified in 55.03, lowering his previous best of 55.24.
It was Gonzalez second appearance in the championship finals.
Gonzalez also qualified for the 100-meter backstroke final on opening night in 58.71 and finished eighth in finals in 58.04.
Both Song An and Gonzalez were members of Mexico’s seventh place 4×100-meter freestyle relay team (3:30.82).
Mexican teammate Andy Song An of Bolles was sixth in the 200-meter backstroke in a best time 2:04.37. Song An had qualified sixth in morning in a then lifetime-best 2:04.66, bettering his previous best time of 2:05.25.
In Thursday’s prelims, Song An was 18th in the 100-meter freestyle in 53.25. He was also a member of the 4×200-meter freestyle which finished seventh in 7:53.56.
In Saturday’s prelims, Gonzalez qualified tenth and Song An 16th in the 200-meter individual medley.
In Friday night’s finals,
American Courtney Harnish overtook early leader Tamsin Cook of Australia to win the 400-meter freestyle in a best time 4:09.36, dropping from 4:12.20. Cook took silver in 4:10.91.
Liam Egan of Team USA, winner of the 1500 freestyle on opening night, won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:52.59. He moved ahead of China’s early leader Li Yongwei. American Aidan Burns took silver in 3:53.10 and Aussie Joshua Parrish won bronze in 3:53.85.
Top-seed Suzuka Hasegawa of Japan won the 100-meter butterfly in 58.91. Aussie Christina Licciardi took silver in 59.36 and Japan’s Rikako Ikee took the bronze in 59.50.
American Alex Valente won the 100-meter butterfly in 52.60, just missing the junior world record. U.S. teammate Andrew Seliskar was second in 53.14 and New Zealand’s Bradlee Ashby was third in 53.81.
Japan’s Rio Shirai and Rika Yuhara went one-two in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:11.67 and 2:12.51 respectively. Korea’s Dalin Lee took the brone in 2:13.24.
Americans Connor Green and Corey Okubo went one-two in the 200-meter backstroke in 1:59.60 and 2:01.17. Canadian Markus Thormeyer took the bronze in 2:01.55.
The Aussie women and U.S. men won the 4×100-meter freestyle relays.
The five-day meet continues late Saturday night with the final schedule for pool events. The 10K open water events are Sunday. The Pan Pacific Championships open water events will also be held after being postponed in Australia because of bad weather condition.
Team USA leads a field of eight countries that includes Australia, Canada, China, Fiji, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand. The charter nations are the U.S., Australia, Japan and Canada.
The Jr. Pan Pacs are being live-streamed at usaswimming.org. Results can also be found on Meet Mobile. Finals are 11 p.m. east coast time. The open water events begin 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com