Red Deer’s Rebecca Smith has gifted herself a few shiny new Christmas presents this year.
The 21-year-old will return home to Red Deer for the holidays with four medals from the FINA short-course World Championships in Abu Dhabi as well as a Canadian record.
Smith helped Canada to gold in the 4×200 metre freestyle relay, setting a Canada record in a time of 7:32.96, and just 11 one-hundredths of a second off the world record mark.
“We wanted to win this event,” said Smith in a Swimming Canada news release. “We wanted to try and get as close to the world record as possible and produce the best 200 free relay we could. It’s been a long meet, a lot of races for some of us, so we wanted to finish it off strong.”
In the 4x100m relay, Smith and team Canada tied the U.S. for gold and she also helped Canada to gold in the 4x50m mixed freestyle. Smith also earned silver in the 200m freestyle with a time of 1:52.24.
Overall, Canada finished the six-day competition with 15 medals, including seven gold, while almost doubling its previous best of eight in 1999 and 2016.
Canada finished second in the medal standings behind the U.S., with more medals than its previous eight world short-course championships combined.
“From Day 1 to Day 6 we were competitive through the whole event,” said John Atkinson, director of high performance and national coach for Swimming Canada.
“That’s down to the work ethic and the professionalism of our athletes, coaches, and of our support staff, working every minute in the prelims and finals to get the best support for the athletes. The athletes have had a fantastic set of performances here and it sets everybody up for what comes in 2022 with the major Games and championships we have coming up.”