Ladysmith’s Faith Knelson stormed her way to a silver medal performance at the 6th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships on Thursday night in Indianapolis.
Smiling ear to ear on the podium, the 16-year-old captured Canada’s first piece of hardware of the meet on Day 2 – a four medal night for the team that included a gold, two silvers and a bronze.
“I was just going out there trying to get on the podium. That was the ultimate goal,” said Knelson, who is part of the Swimming Canada’s NextGen program in Victoria.
“I tried to follow what my coach was telling me to do, stay in my own lane, focus on my own swim. I knew it was a tight race, I just focused on my last two strokes and tried to get my hands on the wall.”
Knelson was ranked 3rd in the 50 breaststroke heading into the six-day competition at the Indiana University Natatorium pool but dipped under the 31 second barrier for the first time in her young career to finish in a time of 30.91.
The United States’ Emily Weiss finished in 30.78 for gold and Ireland’s Mona Lucille McSharry took bronze in a time of 30.97.
Knelson’s NextGen Victoria teammate Jade Hannah also captured bronze in the 100 backstroke on Thursday night.
“I’ve been working towards this goal for a long time, so to have it pay off feels really good. I’m so happy we got two Canadians on the same podium tonight,” said Hannah, who is from Halifax. “I’ve had a lot of up and downs with this event, I’ve learned to be resilient.”
Kelowna’s Taylor Ruck, who trains at the High Performance Centre – Ontario, captured silver in the same event.
Knelson was back in the water on Friday morning and qualified fifth after the heats in the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:08.34.
She’ll swim in the semi-final later tonight for a chance at the final on Saturday.
The FINA competition has attracted over 1,000 of the best girls aged 14-17 and boys age 15-17 from 100 different countries.