Wilkinson Closes Canadian Nationals With Fourth Gold Medal

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WINNIPEG, Man. -- Texas A&M swimmer Julia Wilkinson ended her week at the Canadian Summer National Championships by earning her fourth gold medal in four tries on Sunday morning.

Wilkinson won the 200-meter individual medley over Auburn signee Stephanie Horner and Canadian national record holder Erica Morningstar by a comfortable margin to put an exclamation point on the most dominating swim meet of her career at her country’s national level.

After toying with Morningstar’s national record of 2:13.43 in prelims on Saturday night, Wilkinson cruised to the championship final win in 2:14.03 on Sunday morning. Horner finished in the runner-up position, close to two seconds back at 2:15.62, while Morningstar was third in 2:16.20. A&M freshman Melanie Dodds (Maple Ridge, B.C.) was seventh in 2:21.15.

Wilkinson ends the week with gold medals in every event she contested: the 50 and 100-meter backstrokes, the 100-meter freestyle, and the 200-meter individual medley. Wilkinson broke her own national records in the 50 and 100-meter backstrokes as well.

Wilkinson, who represented her home North York Aquatic Club (NYAC) team at nationals, scored enough points for her four wins to finish 12th in the overall team standings by herself. Wilkinson scored 200 of the NYAC’s 228 points to help them to a 10th-place team finish.

With Canadian summer nationals now complete, Wilkinson and the rest of her Olympic teammates will now turn their sights on the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing which begin Aug. 8.

As of now, Wilkinson is scheduled to swim the 100 and 200-meter freestyles, the 100 and 200-meter backstrokes, the 200-meter individual medley, the 200 and 400-meter freestyle relays and the 400-meter medley relay at the Olympics.

The Canadians will travel to Singapore on Monday for a 13-day training camp leading up to the Olympics. Though soon far from home, Wilkinson will have plenty of Aggie company in Singapore as the United States, with Christine Marshall (Newport News, Va.), and Estonia, with Triin Aljand (Tallinn) and Aggie head coach Steve Bultman, will also be training there later this week.

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