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Kennedy finishes fifth in a quick 50 meter freestyle at Pan-Am Games

Avon's Madison Kennedy, a member of the U.S. team at the Pan-Am Games in Toronto.

Avon’s Madison Kennedy, a member of the U.S. team at the Pan-Am Games.

TORONTO, July 18 – Avon swimmer Madison Kennedy swam two of her best times ever in the 50 meter freestyle at the Pan American Games Friday in Toronto.

Kennedy, 27, swam a career-best time of 24.75 seconds in qualifying Friday morning, finishing tied for second place with Brazilian Etiene Medeiros. Kennedy and Medeiros were 0.44 of a second behind Arianna Vanderpool Wallace, the 25-year-old sprinter from the Bahamas, who swam a personal-best time of 24.31 seconds.

Kennedy wasn’t too far off the mark in the championship final with a time of 24.80 seconds, the third-best time she has swum in the 50 free. But three other swimmers improved on their qualifying swim times and Kennedy finished fifth in a quick event.

Wallace won the race in 24.38 seconds followed by Medeiros, who shaved 0.20 of a second off her qualifying time and finished in 24.55 seconds. American Natalie Coughlin was third with a personal-best time of 24.66 seconds with Canadian Chantal Van Langeghem taking fourth in 24.70.

How quick was the event? Kennedy was 0.42 of a second behind Wallace and took fifth. The seventh place swimmer – Graciele Herrmann broke 25 seconds and was just 0.56 off the pace.

Kennedy’s qualifying time of 24.75 seconds beat her previous best time of 24.78 seconds at the Charlotte Grand Prix in May 2014. In that race, Kennedy was second to Wallace. Both swimmers train with SwimMAC Elite in Charlotte, North Carolina.

This was Kennedy’s second time racing the 50 meter freestyle at the Pan Am Games. She was third in 2011 in Mexico.

Earlier this week, Kennedy won her second Pan-Am Game medal, helping the U.S. team finish second in the 4×100 meter freestyle relay. She gave the Americans the lead on the third leg but Canada, led by Van Langeghem surged on the anchor leg for a thrilling 0.21 second victory.

For a few hours, the American team held the Pan-Am Games record in the event after swimming a record-breaking 3:37.28 in qualifying. But Canada broke that mark in the final.

Athletes from 41 nations are competing in 39 sports at the Pan-Am Games, which aim to mirror the format of the Olympic Games – which are two years away in Rio, Brazil. Saturday is the final day of competition in swimming but the Games will continue in Toronto for another week through July 26.

Kennedy is a 2005 graduate of Avon High and a 2010 graduate of the University of California.

Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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