White Rock pair scoop Commonwealth Games medals

White Rock swimmer Hilary Caldwell won a bronze medal in the women’s 200-m backstroke at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland. Below, Jim Paton (on left) with shooting partner Des Vamplew, after winning silver. - Ian MacNicol/Swimming Canada photo
White Rock swimmer Hilary Caldwell won a bronze medal in the women’s 200-m backstroke at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland. Below, Jim Paton (on left) with shooting partner Des Vamplew, after winning silver.
— image credit: Ian MacNicol/Swimming Canada photo

White Rock athletes have captured medals on the shooting range and in the pool at Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland this week.

Longtime marksman Jim Paton, 57, has a pair of silver medals to his credit, winning his first last weekend in the pairs competition of the full-bore target rifle event, alongside Ontario shooter Des Vamplew.

On Tuesday, he doubled his medal haul with a second-place finish in the Queen’s Prize individual men’s competition.

In the pair’s event, the Canadian duo finished with a total score of 592 (out of 600), which was just three points back of England’s team, which won gold with a score of 595.

Though the event was plagued with weather delays at various points, Paton and Vamplew battled back to rise five spots on the final day of competition; heading into the final showdown, they sat seventh out of 17 teams.

“The fog delays were a bit wearing. You want to just get on with it,” said Paton in a news release. “After the short range yesterday we were in seventh… so we had a ways to go to come back. But we just flat out had a good score at the long range (on the final day).”

For Paton, the two medals will add to an already impressive collection. The White Rock shooter won gold and silver medals at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, and in 2005 won the prestigious Queen’s Medal at Britain’s Imperial Meeting, one of the world’s largest full-bore target shooting events in the world.

Vamplew, meanwhile, won his second career Commonwealth Games medal – his first came 36 years earlier in Edmonton, when he made the podium as a 22-year-old.

In the pool, White Rock native Hilary Caldwell – who now lives and trains in Victoria – swam to a bronze-medal in the women’s 200-m backstroke Sunday.

For the 23-year-old, the performance is her second major international medal, having won bronze in the same event at the FINA World Championships last summer in Barcelona.

This time, Caldwell – still a member of the South Surrey-based Pacific Sea Wolves Swim Club – touched the wall in two minutes, 8.55 seconds, about two seconds off her Barcelona time.

Australia’s Belinda Hocking won the gold medal, setting a Commonwealth Games’ record with a time of 2:07.24.

Another Australian swimmer, Emily Seebohm, won the silver medal, touching the wall four-hundredths of a second ahead of Caldwell.

“It wasn’t quite where I wanted to be – obviously a little bit off my best, but it’s always nice to be on the podium,” Caldwell said.

“I knew (the race) was going to be pretty quick. Those Aussie girls are always fast and it’s never great to be out-touched for any medal.

“I was just off the silver, and a little bit off the gold today, but I’ve got another chance in a couple weeks (at Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia).”

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