UVA swimmers McLean, Smith win gold at Pan Pacific Swimming Championships
UVA swimming sophomore Leah Smith and Class of 2011 graduate Matt McLean both won gold on the second day of the 2014 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.
Smith (Pittsburgh, Pa.) won gold as part of the United States women’s 4x200m free relay, while McLean (Sterling, Va.) earned a first-place finish with the U.S. men’s 4x200m free relay.
Smith was the third leg on a relay with three Olympic gold medalists, Shannon Vreeland, Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky. The Americans came from behind to win in a Pan Pacific Championship and Australia All-Comers record time of 7:46.40, ahead of Australia (7:47.47) and Canada (7:58.03).
McLean entered the water as the anchor .01 behind Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda, but was able to out-touch Matsuda at the wall by. 13 (7:05.17-7:05.30) to earn gold for the American relay that also featured Olympic gold medalists Conor Dwyer, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.
It is Smith’s first senior international medal and the first Cavalier female gold medal at the Pan Pacific Championships since Melanie Valerio (’91) captured gold with the U.S. women’s 4x100m free relay in 1997.
Smith represented the United States at the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Championships, where she won two gold medals (400m free, 800m free) and was named the Swimmer of the Meet. She was named the ACC Freshman of the Year for 2014 and placed third in the 1,650y free at the NCAA Championships.
McLean becomes the first Virginia male to win a gold medal at the Pan Pacific Championships and the first to medal since Fran Crippen (’06) earned silver in the 10k open water event in 2010.
This is McLean’s fourth senior international gold medal. He won Olympic gold with the United States men’s 4x200m free team in 2012 and was a part of the same relay that earned gold at the 2012 FINA World Short Course Championships and 2013 FINA World Championships.
The meet continues through Aug. 25.