Chantal van Landeghem Canada’s New Swimming Star

Over the last several Olympics, Canadians haven’t seen a lot of success in the pool; but with a breakout performance at the Pan Am games on Tuesday, 21-year-old Chantal van Landeghem showed that could be about to change and that she is a threat in Rio.

Van Landeghem beat the heavily favoured American swimmer Natalie Coughlin in the Women’s 100m freestyle on Tuesday, setting a Pan Am Games record of 53.83 seconds in the process and bringing home Canada’s first swimming medal of the games.

Later in the night, she proved the victory over Coughlin was not just a one-time fluke.  With both swimmers taking the anchor lap of the Women’s 4x100m relay, the United States held the lead as Coughlin entered the pool.  That slim lead was erased by van Landeghem though, and Canada had their second Pan Am games record, and second gold medal of the night.

“My confidence is sky-high right now,” Van Landeghem said. “I’ve don’t think it’s ever been this high.

“Beating Natalie is obviously huge, but personally, a best time, that’s all I could ask for. We’re going into worlds in a couple weeks after this. To have these performances going into worlds is a huge confidence booster.”

It wasn’t the only success for Canada on the night though, as veteran Audrey Lacroix, 31, brought home a gold medal of her own, winning the women’s 200m butterfly.

Lacroix has won previous medals in both the Pan Am games and Commonwealth games, but winning one at home was special.

“I heard the crowd during the second 50 [metres], but by the end of the race I couldn’t hear that much,” Lacroix said. “I was in my own world praying the wall would come.”

“This one is special is because it’s at home. It helped my confidence a lot to win last year when I won at Commonwealth Games, but a win tonight in my own pool in Canada was really special and that’s what I wanted to experience.”

The men also contributed, with the Men’s 4x100m relay team of Santo Condorelli, Karl Krug, Yuri Kisil, and Evan Van Moerkerke bringing home a silver medal. Condorelli would also win an individual silver medal in the 100m freestyle.

Zack Chetrat took the bronze medal in the men’s 200m butterfly.

 

Main Photo by Kevin Gamble/Take the Leap photography, all rights reserved.