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Victoria’s Hilary Caldwell settles for backstroke bronze at Commonwealth

Canada's Hilary Caldwell swims to a bronze medal in the women's 200 metre backstroke final at the Tollcross Swimming Centre at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland on Sunday, July 27.


Hilary Caldwell was a fraction of a second from climbing one step higher on the podium at the Commonwealth Games.

The Victoria swimmer had the lead halfway through Sunday's final of the women's 200-metre backstroke, only to be passed by two Australian competitors – including one right at the wall – in having to settle for bronze.

Caldwell finished 1.27 seconds back of winner Belinda Hocking, but was just 0.04 seconds off Emily Seebohm's silver-medal time of two minutes 08.51 seconds.

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"I knew it was going to be pretty quick. Those Aussie girls are always fast," said Caldwell, who finished in 2:08.55. "It's never great to be out-touched (at the wall) for any medal. I was just off the silver and a little bit off the gold today.

Caldwell was fastest in qualifying, and swam even faster in the final, but wasn't able to hold off either Hocking or Seebohm over the final 100 metres in a race that saw Genevieve Cantin of Lac Beauport, Que., finish seventh and Sinead Russell of Burlington, Ont., wind up eighth.

"Belinda is always a back-halfer. She's negative split them before," said Caldwell. "That's definitely her strong suit, the back end of the race. I struggled a bit with being sick a bit on and off this year so maybe my fitness isn't quite where it needs to be."

Still, the 23-year-old collected Canada's fifth medal at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre through four days of competition.

Meanwhile, Remi Pelletier-Roy of Longueuil, Que., added another bronze for Canada in the men's 20-kilometre scratch race – the country's first of the Games in cycling – after the 24-year-old finished third behind New Zealand's Shane Archbold and Australia's Glenn O'Shea at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

"The track program came here with big goals and I think getting a medal was the very least we were hoping for," said Pelletier-Roy. "Getting to the last race, it was our last chance to do it so I'm pretty happy to put that on the board for us as a program and for myself."

After four days of competition in Scotland, Canada sits tied for sixth in the overall medal standings with 18 – seven gold, three silver and eight bronze.

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Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., wasn't able to add to the tally or match her gold-medal winning performance from the women's 100-metre butterfly in the 50-metre fly, finishing sixth with a time of 26.27 seconds.

"To be honest I'm a little bit disappointed," said the 21-year-old. "I was expecting faster, but I have the 200-metre butterfly (on Monday) so I'm going to focus on that."

England's Francesca Halshall was first in 25.20 seconds, followed by Arianna Vanderpool Wallace (25.53) of the Bahamas and Australia's Brittany Elmslie (25.91). Montreal's Sandrine Mainville was eighth.

"The other girls were just faster than me today," added Savard. "It's not a really good time for me. A small thing can make a big difference."

Staying in the pool, Calgary's Yuri Kisil grabbed a surprising fourth-place finish in the men's 100-metre freestyle behind a trio of Aussies. Kisil qualified for the final with the seventh fastest time, but touched in a personal best 49.27 seconds.

Aurelie Rivard of Haut-Richelieu, Que., finished fourth in the women's para-swimming 100-metre breaststroke, followed by Katarina Roxon of St. John's, N.L., in fifth.

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Ottawa's Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson was fifth in the women's 200-metre individual medley, with 17-year-old Sydney Pickrem, who swims out of St-Jerome, Que., finishing eighth.

In the only other final involving Canadians, Calgary's Russell Wood finished seventh in the men's 50-metre backstroke.

Meanwhile, Toronto's Brittany MacLean advanced to the women's 800-metre freestyle final, while Mainville moved on to the women's 100-metre freestyle final where she will be joined by fellow Montrealers Victoria Poon and Alyson Ackman.

Tera van Beilen of Oakville, Ont., and Kierra Smith of Kelowna, B.C., will swim in the women's 100-metre breaststroke final, while Toronto's Martha McCabe failed to advance.

Edmonton's Richard Funk qualified for the men's 50-metre breaststroke final, but Vancouver's Coleman Allen, as well as Evan White and Gamal Assaad, both of Oakville, failed to advance in the men's 100-metre butterfly.

Elsewhere at the Games, Lanni Marchant, from London, Ont., finished fourth in the women's marathon, completing the two-loop course that wound around Glasgow in two hours 31 minutes 14 seconds.

Mohammed Ahmed raced to fifth in the men's 5,000 metres on the first day of track and field. The 23-year-old from St. Catharines, Ont., ran 13 minutes 18.88 seconds – a personal best and the third fastest time ever by a Canadian.

"Fifth, you know, I was really close but I gave everything I had, I just made tactical errors," said Ahmed. "I am a bit disappointed, I really wanted to go out there and be right there with those guys.

"But I am a bit closer than I was last year and I have another race coming up on Friday (the 10,000 metres) and another Canadian there with me (Cam Levins) which will make it a little bit easier. So I am just going to go out there and have fun."

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