Michelle Williams Leads Canadian Charge with Silver Medal

HONG KONG – Olympic and Commonwealth medallist Michelle Williams of North York, Ont., earned her second medal on the FINA World Cup Swimming circuit this week with a silver in the Women’s 50-m Freestyle at the ninth and final stop.

Jeanette Ottesen of Denmark took the gold in 23.95 seconds, Williams followed in 24.38 and Emily Seebhohm of Australia was third in 24.54. On Tuesday at the Tokyo stop Williams took bronze in a personal best 24.25.

‘’I was pleased with my performance particularly because I was able to move up in my placing,’’ said Williams, who helped Canada to bronze in the 4X100-m freestyle relay at the Olympics. ‘’These World Cups are a great chance to race under any circumstances. You always have to be ready to go no matter how tired you are and with all the travel.’’

Danielle Hanus of Newmarket, Ont., reached her first World Cup finals placing sixth in the 50-m backstroke and tying with Sarah Darcel of Victoria for sixth in the 200-m individual medley.

‘’Racing at the World Cups is always a lot of fun,’’ said Hanus, who clocked a personal best 2:12.69 in the 200-m IM. ‘’There’s always a lot of competition. In Tokyo, I struggled to make it into finals but it pushed me harder and gave me a lot of incentive.’’

Hanus’ two races were mere minutes apart with only one other race separating the two.

‘’Doing two races today was really challenging and racing so quickly between events was a really good experience. It will give me the confidence to keep going throughout the season and going best time in the 200 this early in the season in really rewarding.’’

Olympic bronze medallist Hilary Caldwell of White Rock, B.C. was fifth in the 200-m backstroke. Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., was sixth in the 100-m butterfly and Rachel Nicole of Lethbridge, Alta., seventh in the 100-m breaststroke.

All three have been consistent presences in the World Cup finals this week. The Canadians are tuning up for the FINA World Championships set for Windsor, Ont., December 6-11.

‘’Doing all three World Cups this week is a really a great preparation for the world championships,’’ said Savard, who helped Canada to bronze in the 4X200-m freestyle relay at the Olympics. ‘’I swam a lot of events over the course of these stops and I know what I need to work on going into Windsor.’’

Two Canadian men were also in finals. Nicolaas Dekker of Richmond, B.C., and Jeremy Bagshaw of Victory were sixth in the 200-m butterfly and 400-m freestyle.