Friday was a night to remember at Pan Am Pool. History was made and Manitoba added another gold medal to its tally.
Breakout star Oksana Chaput ended her Canada Summer Games on a high note with a win in the women’s 50-metre freestyle. The 13-year-old was able to battle through a leg injury she suffered Thursday to win her second gold and fourth medal of the Games.
"It feels pretty great, especially since it’s the last day and you’re exhausted."
Chaput says her performance this week even surprised herself.
"Honestly, I didn’t think I’d do that well. But now that I did, I’ll feel more confident going into my next Games," said Chaput, who has aspirations of being an Olympian.
Chaput’s gold was Manitoba’s lone medal in the pool on Friday.
Chaput wasn’t the only breakout star at the pool this week, as Alberta’s Cole Pratt and Hanna Henderson of Ontario both made Canada Games history. Pratt won 10 medals this week and Henderson won 11. The previous record was held by Ray Betuzzi, who collected nine swimming medals at the 2005 Games in Regina.
"It’s crazy. I’m at a loss for words. It’s incredible and I’m just really happy right now," said the 14-year old Pratt.
Pratt says he was aware of the record going into the Games, and that with his ranking and times heading into the week, he thought he might have a shot at it. Henderson, on the other hand, didn’t know about it until Thursday.
"I didn’t have much expectations coming into the meet. I just wanted some best times and come back happy."
Some of the best athletes in Canadian history have competed at the Games, and to have more medals than all of them is a surreal feeling, she says.
"The fact that they’ve gone on to some of the higher levels gives me hope that I can get there too."
The open-water swim, a five-kilometre event scheduled for Birds Hill Provincial Park today, has been moved to Pan Am Pool. The Host Society made the decision after it was revealed E. coli levels at Birds Hill slightly exceeded the acceptable levels for recreational water standards.