Danica Ludlow and Alyson Ackman shared the podium in the 400-metre freestyle at the Pan American Games. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Danica Ludlow wins silver, Alyson Ackman takes bronze in women’s 400 freestyle

LIMA, Peru — The Canadian women had a solid day in the water at the Pan American Games on Tuesday, coming away with five medals on the first day of the swimming competition.

Danica Ludlow and Alyson Ackman began the day by sharing the podium in the 400-metre freestyle.

Ludlow won silver in a time of 4:11.97 while Ackman followed with bronze in 4:12.05. Argentina’s Delfina Pignatiello took the gold (4:10.86).

“I’m really happy. It’s my only individual race of the meet, so starting off with a bang. We were the first race so I wanted to get the ball rolling for Canada this week,” said Ludlow.

Ackman added: “I’ve been picturing it all day and I was trying not to get too excited and jinx it. But I was so excited. I kind of just wished one of us was in the middle so we could hug each other.”

Also, Faith Nelson won a bronze medal in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.42), Marie-Sophie Harvey grabbed a silver in the 200 butterfly (2:11.68), while Ackman and the 4 x 100 freestyle relay team added bronze in the evening (3:41.01).

“I laid it all out there and left it all in Lima, that was the plan,” said Nelson.

ATHLETICS

Natasha Wodak captured gold while setting a new Pan Am record in the women’s 10,000-metre event.

Wodak finished in 31:55.17 and was joined on the podium by Rachel Cliff, who finished with bronze in her Pan Am debut.

“This one is definitely the most special. I have never won a medal in a Games event so I just felt really good,” said Wodak. ”“My parents were here and I just went and saw them and it was just really special, you know, being 37 and having been doing this for so long, it’s really good. Also, it’s really good points going into the Olympics so I’m hoping my ranking will stay nice and high.”

Cliff transitioned from marathon to track and it paid off with her first ever Pan Am medal.

“It’s my first time at the Pan American Games and to get on the podium is really special. I went hard from the gun and I feel like I really earned this one, so I’m pretty proud of it,” said Cliff.

“I’m the Canadian record holder in the marathon. I set that in March earlier this year and after doing it, I really wanted to have a fun track season and get a chance to compete at Games like these.”

FENCING

Canada added two bronze medals to its fencing tally.

Gabrielle Page reached the podium in Individual Sabre as Maximilien van Haaster finished third in Individual Foil.

“I’m happy. I mean, and disappointed at the same time I came here to win,” said Page. ”But, I had a really long season and despite the ups and downs, I’m happy with the way I fenced. I controlled my emotions, I controlled really everything.”

SOFTBALL

The Canadian women’s softball team lost 6-1 to the United States in a battle of world powers.

It was a rematch of the 2015 Pan Am final, won by Canada in Ajax, Ont.

The U.S. (3-0 at the Pan Ams) won the world championship last year, with Canada (2-1) finishing third.

The Americans scored three runs in the third off Canada starter Danielle Lawrie of Langley, B.C., to take a 3-1 lead. Lawrie took the loss, giving up three runs on five hits in three innings.

BASKETBALL

A young Canadian women’s team opened its tournament with a 79-71 loss against Brazil.

Brazil broke open a tie game by outscoring Canada 19-12 in the third quarter.

Shaina Pellington of Pickering, Ont., led Canada with 21 points, while Ruth Hamblin of Houston, B.C., had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

WATER POLO

Canada notched wins in women’s and men’s action.

The Canadian women (3-0) beat Mexico 27-6, while the men topped Cuba 20-11.

Emma Wright of Lindsay, Ont., led Canada with five goals, while Nicolas Constantin-Bicari of Repentigny, Que., scored a game-high six goals for the men (2-1).

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