A happy Tessa Cieplucha after winning the Women 1500m Freestyle at the 2015 Canadian Swimming Trials in Toronto, Ont.

Cieplucha comes from behind to win swimming’s distance classic

Oakville native takes gold in 1,500 metres

Tessa Cieplucha may only be 15 years old but she put down an adult time on Wednesday night.

The Oakville native won the 1,500 metre freestyle at the 2015 Canadian Swim Trials in Toronto in a time of 16:47.84, over six seconds faster than her seed time coming in.

“At the beginning, I wanted to go out very smooth and comfortable, not too excited because then I knew I wouldn’t hold it in the end,” she said. “The middle, I wanted to build through the race and just see what I had in the end.

“It’s a really good feeling,” said Cieplucha, after completing the event at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

Sophia Saroukian, of Edmonton, Alta., had the second-fastest time at 16:53.91 followed by Molly Gowan of Victoria, B.C. with a time of 16:54.93 in a separate morning race.

Jersey Bishop of Markham, Ont. placed fourth overall and third in the evening swim against Cieplucha and Saroukian at 16:58.38.

Saroukian, who entered the competition with the top seed time of 16:48.89, edged past Bishop to lead the race shortly after the three-minute mark. Cieplucha moved from starting in third to hold first place, pulling ahead of Saroukian at 11:12.81.

“It was a hard one,” said Saroukian, before she left the deck. “From the bat, I knew Tessa was going to be there and I knew she was going to be good competition.

“I started feeling bad, it just hit me sort of like a rocket. I got through it, I just tried to get a medal and I’m happy with it … Today was just not my day.”

Although this event is not in the 2015 Pan Am Games, Cieplucha has one title up on Saroukian and Bishop before the ladies meet again for the Women’s 800m Freestyle on April 4.

The winners of that event will determine who competes for Canada at the Pan Am Games, 2015 FINA World Aquatic Championships and the 2015 FINA World Junior Championships.

“Knowing that this race was very well done, I’m excited to see what the 800m and 400m and how I’ll do,” said Cieplucha. “It’s just exciting to see how everything will go.

“I’ve worked really hard and I’m glad I’ve got a chance to race.”

Follow Stacey Dicion on Twitter: @StaceyHope