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Bronze in the women's 4x200 metre freestyle relay for Pembroke's Ackman

By Anthony Dixon, The Daily Observer

Alyson Ackman

Alyson Ackman

Pembroke's Alyson Ackman and the Canadian women's 4x200 metre freestyle relay team will be bringing home bronze from the Pan Am Games in Toronto.

Shortly before 9 p.m. Thursday evening, six teams hit the water at the CIBC Pan Am / Parapan Am Aquatics Centre and Field House for the 4x200 metre freestyle relay final.

Canada's Emily Overholt swam the first two hundred metres for the Canadian team, extending to an arm's length lead after her two laps of the pool.

The other two top teams in contention for gold were the United States and Brazil.

Taking over from Overholt was Katerine Savard while up second for the United States was their powerhouse, Allison Schmitt. So strong is Schmitt that commentators noted that it was the goal of the other teams to just stay within a body's length of her by the end of the second 200 metres.

Savard, no doubt somewhat fatigued having just swam and won bronze for Canada in the women's 100 metre butterfly, plus having had to stand around for the medal ceremony following her race, lost ground to Schmitt who took over the lead, extending more than three seconds ahead of Brazil in second and Canada in third when Ackman took to the pool.

In her two laps, Ackman had a strong swim, battling Courtney Harnish of the US hard. Ackman did eat back into the American lead by the time Brittany MacLean began the anchor leg of the race.

But the battle at the front was down to Gillian Ryan of the United States trying to hang on against a surging Larissa Martins of Brazil. Arguably Martins big push in her first lap of the pool, when she closed on Ryan, may have used up the bulk of her energy as on the last length of the pool, Ryan was able to extend and claim gold for the United States. Brazil was second, Canada third with all of those top three teams eclipsing the previous Pan Am Games record.

The winning time for the United States was 7:54.32.

Anthony Dixon is The Daily Observer's managing editor

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