Manitoba's Van Landeghem propelled by crowd to Pan Am wins

Winnipeg's Chantal Van Landeghem has picked up two swimming golds at the Pan Am Games in Toronto

CBC News Posted: Jul 15, 2015 11:42 AM CT Last Updated: Jul 15, 2015 8:02 PM CT

Manitoba's Chantal Van Landeghem, 21, stole the show on the opening night of swimming competition, finishing with two gold medals and two Pan Am records.

Her parents, Wayne and Dinah Van Landeghem, watched all of the excitement unfold from their home in Winnipeg Tuesday night.

Wayne spoke with Chantal right after she hopped out of the pool following the women's 100-metre freestyle race.

"[She's] really excited. And she could not get over the crowd. She said this is the first time where she actually could feel the crowd and hear the crowd. She said 100 per cent of the last 20 metres, the crowd like pulled her," Wayne said Wednesday.

He believes the double gold will give his daughter the confidence she needs to achieve her next goal, making Canada's Olympic team.

Three years ago, while trying to qualify for the London Olympics, Van Landeghem finished 0.01 second off of the qualifying time.

Canada's crown jewel

Chantal's former coach of six years, Tom Hainey, says Chantal is Canada's crown jewel in the 100-metre freestyle event. So the wins didn't surprise the coach at all.

Tuesday, Chantal beat out 12-time Olympic medallist Natalie Coughlin from the U.S. Chantal has the physical advantage over many of her competitors, measuring six feet three inches tall.

"I was so happy for her. When you coach an athlete and you go through what we went through together, the highs and lows – the low being missing the Olympic team by a hundredth of a second – and for her to do that in front of a home town crowd. That's where she trains, that's her home pool now. It's awesome," Hainey said.

"Her progress has been outstanding. And once we saw how she reacted to missing the team, I knew it was just a matter of time. She is a very big girl. Tall. And it takes long time for tall women to gain strength, no matter what you do."

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