SPORTS

Pan Am newsmaker of the day: Chantal Van Landeghem

07/14/2015 10:25 EDT | Updated 07/14/2016 05:59 EDT
Chantal Van Landeghem stole the show on the opening night of swimming competition, finishing with two gold medals and two Pan Am records on Day 4.

First, the Winnipeg native was able to stretch out her long arms (she's 6-foot-3) to outtouch the heavy favourite, 12-time Olympic medallist Natalie Coughlin of the U.S., and set new Pan Am and Canadian records in winning the women's 100-metre freestyle.

With a time of 53.83, Van Landeghem finished 0.23 seconds ahead of Coughlin, who had set the (ultimately short-lived) Pan Am record in the morning.

Van Landeghem scored her second gold of the night when she outdueled Coughlin on the anchor leg of the 4x100 freestyle relay, overtaking the American over the final length of the pool to win the race for Canada in Pan Am-record time.

Getting faster

Van Landeghem has been on the losing end of close results in the past.

Three years ago, while trying to qualify for the London Olympics, she finished a heartbreaking .01 of a second off the qualifying time. Since then, she has only been getting faster.

This past year, she swam at the University of Georgia, where she holds multiple records. She is ranked sixth in the 50m and ninth in the 100m in school history. As a member of Georgia's 4x100m relay team, she helped lower the NCAA, U.S Open and school records.

Internationally for Canada, she competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow as a member of the 4x100m relay team that won a bronze medal. One of her teammates, Michelle Williams, finished fourth in the 100m individual event Tuesday in Toronto.

Together with Sandrine Mainville, who is also a member of the relay team, Van Landegham and Williams train full time at the CIBC Aquatic Centre in Toronto. Mainville and Williams trained there all year leading into the Pan Ams, while Van Landeghem joined them at the end of the NCAA season.

Joined by Katerine Savard on the Pan Am relay team Tuesday night, the Canadians dealt the U.S. only their second loss in the event in Pan Am Games history. The 1999 Games in Winnipeg marked the only other time the U.S lost, again to Canada. 

Next up for Van Landeghem is the 50m freestyle, an event she won at the Canadian trials in April where she became the first Canadian woman to ever swim a sub-25-second race at home.

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