Mustangs sick in the drink
By Justin Klein
Unfortunately for the Western Mustang swim team, the flu bug took a bite out of their performances at both the Ontario University Athletic championships in Toronto and the national championships in Sherbrooke, Quebec over conference week.
Although the Mustangs were among the favourites going into the Ontario meet, a number of team illnesses caused both clubs to finish eighth.
Kelly Haggins, one of the women's top swimmers, caught mono which kept her out of all events.
"Her absence from the meet was an extreme drawback, but that's sports," head coach Glen Belfry said.
On the positive side, Crystal Clarke had a great day, finishing third in the 50-metre breaststroke and fourth in the 100-metre breaststroke.
"I was tired but I got up and gave a strong 150 per cent," Clarke said. "I think the team swam well and I was impressed with my results."
Other strong performances came from Amy Bartoch, who finished in the top eight in the 100-metre free and Lisa Grant who finished in the top eight in both the 50-metre and 200-metre backstroke.
Sickness also hit the men's side, keeping Brian Crocket out of the action.
However, Chris Elliott did not let the absence of this star performer hold him back, managing a third-place finish in the 200-metre breaststroke and a top-eight finish in the 200-metre backstroke.
"I can't say how important Chris is to the team," Belfry said. "I hope that we can recruit rookies as good as Elliott and [Andrew] Munro next year."
Munro finished fourth in the 200-metre freestyle, breaking the nine-year-team record. Steve Crema also had a great day, finishing in the top eight in the 1500-metre freestyle.
"Everyone swam very strong," Belfry said. "Sickness dampened the relay and the overall score but they swam well enough to make the school proud."
Last Wednesday, the teams headed to Sherbrooke for the Canadian nationals. The athletes and Belfry said although the lack of time between meets affected their success, they were still able to compete admirably.
Elliott once again was a star for the men, scoring points in the 200-metre breaststroke and 400-metre medley. Munro finished 10th in the 100-metre freestyle and 11th in the 200-metre free.
"It was unfortunate that there was so little time in between meets but I assure you that this will change next year," Belfry said.
On the women's side, Clarke finished 19th in the 50-metre breaststroke and Bartoch finished 22nd in the 100-metre freestyle. These scores helped the women finish 21st, while the men finished in 19th nationally.