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Canton’s Will Gallant takes second in 800 at U.S. nationals

Canton’s Will Gallant had three top 10 finishes at the U.S. national championships, including a win in the 1,500 meters. (Photo courtesy USA Swimming)

Canton High graduate Will Gallant earned another championship medal at the U.S. national swimming championships this weekend in Irvine, California.

Gallant finished second in the 800 meters on Saturday as two-time Olympic gold medalist Bobby Finke pulled away in the last 50 meters of the race. Gallant also finished sixth in the 400 meters on Friday to go along with the championship medal he earned by winning the national title in the 1,500 meters earlier in the week.

Gallant, who will be a junior at North Carolina State this fall, finished second in the 800 meters with a personal-best time of 7:53.34 with Finke finishing first in 7:51.21.

The race was virtually tied with 300 meters left with Finke holding a 0.01 second edge over Gallant. Finke’s lead was 0.02 seconds with 200 meters remaining and 0.06 with 150 meters to go.

But Finke, who won gold in the 800 and 1,500 meters at the Toyko Olympics in 2021, surged in the last 150 meters. Finke led by 0.10 of a second with 100 meters remaining and extended the lead to 0.66 of a second with 50 meters left in the race.

Finke swam the last 50 meters in 26.99 seconds with Gallant swimming the last 50 in 28.46 seconds. Gallant swam the final eight laps of the race in under 29.8 seconds to keep pace with Finke.

Gallant’s previous best time in the 800 meters (7:53.76) came at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June 2021.

Gallant also had two personal best times in the 400 meters. He had a time of 3:51.10 in qualifying that eclipsed his previous best time of 3:51.26 at the Olympic Trials. Gallant swam another PR in the finals with a time of 3:49.83, good enough for sixth place.

Gallant, who graduated from Canton High in 2019, spent one season at the University of Indiana before going to California in May 2021 to train with the Mission Viejo Natadores in an attempt to make the 2021 U.S. Olympic team. He joined NC State in September 2021.

Avon native Madison Kennedy also competed in the meet. Kennedy, 34, finished 24th in qualifying with a time of 25.82 in the women’s 50 meter freestyle. It was her second fastest time of the year.

Kennedy finished eighth in the C final with a time of 25.91 seconds.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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