Volume 91, Issue 50

Wednesday, November 26, 1997



Swimmers look to drown Guelph

©Geoff Robins/Gazette
OH MY GOD! ITS THE LOCH NESS...MUSTANG? The Western Mustang swim team hopes to eat up Guelph on Friday when the Gryphons come to London for what will be the final meet before Christmas.

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

Head swimming coach Glen Belfry said the addition of a few new sharks to the Mustang pool this season has definitely made the Western swim team a more dangerous threat in OUA waters.

Coming off their worst season in a decade, finishing seventh in the province, Belfry came into this year expecting another season of rebuilding especially on the men's side.

"We had a really tough year last year after losing some of our seniors, but after the first few meets I've seen a definite improvement," he said. "Hopefully some of our young guys will be able to get us back to our traditional third-place ranking."

Luckily for Belfry, the quick advancement of rookies Chris Elliot and Andrew Munro has greatly increased Western's chances of success.

"The contributions of both Elliot and Munro has been astounding," Belfry said. "Chris has already recorded the quickest provincial time in the breaststroke and Andrew has won a number of big races for us in the freestyle and fly."

Munro said coaching and team chemistry made it easy for him to make the transition to university competition.

"Glen is really good at keeping the team focused," he said. "And the rest of the guys on the team have made it easy to feel comfortable."

Focus is very important to Belfry, who feels that if the teams rookies remain focused they can compete with anyone in Ontario.

Belfry feels the women's team is much deeper than the men and may even legitimately contend for a spot on the national top-10 ranking based on their hard work during the off-season.

So far this season, the men and women have identical 1-2 records – losing their first two dual-meets of the season to Toronto and McMaster respectively before beating division rival Laurier handily for a key win.

"Toronto and Mac are both perennial provincial champions who we simply want to compete with for the experience right now," Belfry said. "It is the games against division opponents that mean the most, which makes the Laurier win so important."

On Friday the team will compete in the final meet of the first half of the season when Guelph rolls into town, a team Belfry considers the toughest in the West division. Although he concedes a victory by the Mustang men is a "long-shot," he feels the women size-up well against Guelph.

Guelph, whose men are undefeated in three meets and women at 2-1, are currently ranked fourth in the country based on their finish at the CIAUs last season.

"We have a lot of depth, which puts us ahead of a team like Western based on our ability to rack up points in individual competitions," Guelph head coach Alan Fairweather said. "Our men are a bit stronger, but I can definitely see the women's meet coming down to the last relay."

Fairweather also commented on the fact Western's youth gives them a solid nucleus to work with to insure they are a threat over the next couple of years.

"Three years ago we were in the same place Western is in right now but with some good recruits we were able to build our program back up," he said. "Last year people talked about the Mustang program being finished, but in swimming all you need is a couple good swimmers to build around and looking at Western they've done just that."

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997