By Sharon Robb

July 18, 2015—On the final night of swimming, swimmers with Florida ties were still making an impression at the XVII Pan American Games in Toronto.

During Saturday morning prelims, Canadian Sydney Pickrem, 18, of Clearwater broke her first national record during the heats of the 200-meter individual medley in 2:11.16, 7/100ths of a second faster than the previous record set in 2011.

Pickrem was the second fastest morning qualifier behind American Caitlin Leverenz in 2:11.04.

Pickrem came back at night to take the bronze in 2:11.29, just getting out-touched by American Meghan Small in 2:11.26.

It was Pickrem’s second medal of the game. She also won a silver in the 400-meter individual medley behind gold medalist Leverenz.

In the 800-meter freestyle, Venezuela’s Andreina Pinto, 23, of Gator Swim Club took the bronze in 8:31.08 in her sixth and final event.

It was Pinto’s second medal of the Games. She won silver in the 400-meter freestyle.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson of Jamaica was shut out of medals on the final day. The three-time Olympian was eighth in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:18.02 and led off Jamaica’s seventh place 4×100-medley relay. Atkinson left the Games with one medal.

In the biggest upset of the night, Brazilian Henrique Rodrigues knocked off countryman Thiago Pereira in the 200-meter individual medley to win the gold medal.

Rodrigues broke Pereira’s Pan American Games record (1:57.79) in 1:57.06. Pereira was also under his old record in 1:57.42. Pereira, the most decorated swimmer in Pan Am history, was leading for most of the race until Rodrigues powered by him in the final 50 meters.

The U.S. women’s team broke the Pan American Games record in the 4×100-meter medley relay during morning prelims in 3:57.35 to earn the top seed. Natalie Coughlin led off with a blistering 59.20 split and was joined by Katie Meili (1:06.57), Kelsi Worrell (57.63) and Allison Schmitt (53.95).

The U.S. came back with the same foursome to win the gold medal and re-break their record in 3:56.53.

Coughlin made history by winning her 60th international medal that includes the Olympics, World Championships, Pan Pacs and Pan Ams. Her backstroke leadoff split was 59.05, the fastest she has been since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Brazil also broke the meet record in the men’s 4×100-meter medley relay in 3:32.68 with Arthur Mendes, Marcelo Chierighini, Guilherme Guido and Franca Da Silva.

Canadian Ryan Cochrane won the 1500-meter freestyle in a Pan American Games record 15:06.40.

Also in prelims, Caitlin Leverenz broke the Pan American Games 200-meter individual medley record in 2:11.04 and came back at night to break it again to win gold in 2:10.51.

American teenager Sierra Schmidt, 17, won the 800-meter freestyle in a Pan American Games record 8:27.54, more than two seconds ahead of Chile’s Kristel Kobrich, the defending champion, in 8:29.79.

Schmidt went out hard in the first 200 meters for nearly a three-second lead and pushed the field for the remainder of the meet.

Also during the meet, Venezuela’s Isabella Paez of Duke and Metro Aquatics, broke the national record in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:00.79 and won the “B” final. The previous record was 1:01.19 set by Elimar Barrios five years ago. She also qualified for the 200-meter butterfly where she finished sixth in 2:13.64. On Saturday, she swam the butterfly leg of her country’s 4×100-meter medley relay.

The United States finished with 32 medals (12 gold, 10 silver, 10 bronze). Host Canada won 27 medals (8 gold, 10 silver, 9 bronze). Brazil finished with 26 medals (10 gold, 6 silver,10 bronze).

SATURDAY RESULTS

WOMEN

800-meter freestyle: 1. Sierra Schmidt, United States 8:27.54, record; 2. Kristel Kobrich, Chile 2:29.79, 3. Andreina Pinto, Venezuela 8:31.08.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Caitlin Leverenz, United States 2:10.51, record, 2. Meghan Small, United States 2:11.26; 3. Sydney Pickrem, Canada 2:11.29; SOFLO: 8. Alia Atkinson, SOFLO 2:18.02.

4×100-meter medley relay: 1. United States (Natalie Coughlin, Katie Meili, Kelsi Worrell, Allison Schmitt) 3:56.53, record; 2. Canada 3:58.51, 3. Brazil 4:02.52; SOFLO: 7. Jamaica 4:14.58 (Alia Atkinson, Danielle Booth, Trudian Patrick, Breanna Roman).

MEN

1500-meter freestyle: 1. Ryan Cochrane, Canada 15:06.40, record, 2. Andrew Gemmell, United States 15:09.92, 3. Brandonn Almeida 15:11.70.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Henrique Rodrigues, Brazil 1:57.06, record, 2. Thiago Pereira, Brazil 1:57.42, 3. Joseph Bentz, United States 2:00.04.

4×100-meter medley relay: 1. Brazil (Arthur Mendes, Marcelo Chierighini, Guilhere Guido, Franca De Sailva) 3:32.68, record; 2. United States 3:33.63, 3. Canada 3:34.40; SOFLO: 5. Colombia (Jorge Murillo-Valdes, Omar Pinzon, Esnaider Reales, Mateo De Angulo) 3:40.79.

SOFLO CONNECTION AT PAN AMS

BERMUDA: Lisa Blackburn.

COLOMBIA: Carolina Colorado, Jorge Murillo Valdes.

JAMAICA: Alia Atkinson, Timothy Wynter, Chris Anderson (Coach).

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

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