Chantal van Landeghem, Michelle Williams and Sandrine Mainville pose with their medals from the 50 metre freestyle on Saturday night.

Van Landeghem beats Williams by a fingernail

Winnipeg swimmer won 50m freestyle at national trials

Chantal van Landeghem won the women’s 50 metre freestyle on the final day of competition at the 2015 Team Canada Trials on Saturday night in Toronto.

The Winnipeg native already qualified for both the Pan Am Games and World Championships on Thursday in the 100m freestyle.

Van Landeghem was familiar with her podium mates Michelle Williams and Sandrine Mainville, relay teammates at the Commonwealth Games last year.

And they’ll be together at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

“I will be training here this summer with them and I love Sandy and Michelle, they are awesome,” said van Landeghem, standing in the mixed zone of the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

“They are so fun to train with, so the fact that we went one, two, three, is really cool and I am excited to see what all three of us can do this summer.”

During the year, van Landeghem trains 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.

Unlike Williams and Mainville, who trained at the Pan Am pool all year, van Landeghem was competing in the NCAA Championships just two weeks ago.

“At NCs I swam 12 races over three days including preliminaries and finals, it is tough, I think it is good practice,” said van Landeghem. “The more you can race, the better you are going to get, so I think this is a great learning opportunity.

Van Landeghem, Williams, and Mainville, had already swept the podium on Thursday in the 100m free. In that race, Williams beat van Landeghem.

“Yeah, I knew it would be a really close race and tough,” said Williams. “I wasn’t able to get under that 25 (second mark), it was close but maybe next time.”

The 100m freestyle champion swam a 25.00, just two hundredths of a second slower than van Landeghem’s 24.98.

It was such a small margin of victory that Williams was left wondering what she could have done differently to win.

“Maybe if I had grown my fingernails a little bit longer,” said Williams.

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