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Hayden leads Canadian swimmers to four gold medals

The Canadian Press

6/2/2012 5:26:29 PM

BARCELONA, Spain -- Olympic team nominees Brent Hayden of Mission, B.C., Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., and Barbara Jardin and Victoria Poon, both of Montreal, each won a gold medal on Saturday at the opening stop on the Mare Nostrum swimming circuit.

In the men's 100-metre freestyle, Hayden, tuning up for this summer's Olympics, finished in 49.02 seconds with Hanser Garcia of Cuba second in 49.32 and Nikita Lobintsev of Russia third in 49.40.

In the women's 50-metre freestyle, Poon clocked 25.30 seconds. She finished ahead of Australian Marieke Guehrer second in 25.40 and Winnipeg's Chantal Van Landeghem was third in 25.50.

"It's the first time Victoria wins a 50 metre race trailing at the halfway mark," said Canadian coach Benoit Lebrun in a statement. "It was her plan to be more relaxed at the start in order to have more intensity at the end."

Jardin earned her win in the 200 freestyle finishing in 1:59.11, more than a second ahead of her closest pursuer.

Savard was one of three Canadian finalists in the women's 100 butterfly winning the race in 58.58. Vancouver's Noemie Thomas was fourth and Audrey Lacroix of Pont-Rouge placed fifth.

"This series is a preparation for the Olympic Games," said Lebrun. "Everyone feels good and our goal here is to get on the podium."

Canada added two more medals in the men's 200 backstroke with Charles Francis of Cowansville, Que., winning silver in 2:01.52 and Toronto's Tobias Oriwol taking third in 2:01.70. Chris Walker-Hebborn of Britain won the gold in 1:59.04.

Three Canadians were in the women's 200 breaststroke final with Kierra Smith of Kelowna, B.C., earning the silver in 2:28.41. Ashley McGregor of Pointe-Claire, Que., was sixth and Ottawa's Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson was seventh.

In the women's 100 backstroke, Jardin took fourth spot in 1:02.25. McGregor was also fourth in the 50 backstroke in 32.30 missing the podium by 0.16 seconds. Seltenreich-Hodgson was fifth in the 400 individual medley.

David Sharpe of Halifax was eighth in the men's 200 butterfly.