Smack down second
Swimmers travel high and low
Judges place Mustangs seventh
More than Gretzky-less
Swimmers travel high and low
By Chad Thompson
It was a busy weekend for the Western men's swim team as they travelled to South Bend, Indiana, to face the University of Notre Dame. They continued on to the University of Toronto, to meet up with the women's team and take part in the Ontario University Athletics Invitational meet.
In the competition against the Fighting Irish, the men's team lost to their American rivals, but Western head coach Glen Belfry said it was a good experience for his team. "We didn't do too bad, [Notre Dame] is a really solid team all the way through. We were able to give to give them some races."
Belfry said the meet has been a tradition since Notre Dame established their swim team. He added he felt the team gained a sense of confidence from the game. "We went in thinking we were gonna get shalacked," he said. "[The results] showed we have people on the same level as them."
The races included individual wins by Matt Wood in the 50 and 100 metre freestyle. Wood said it felt good to win the events against the American school, but added the experience was good for the team as a whole. "Everyone swam really well and were happy with their performance."
The men then met the women's team in Toronto and Belfry said both teams did well at the meet. Individual highlights included Matt Wood winning the 50 metre freestyle and Jen Manley capturing the 50 and 100 metre butterfly, in a field which included Julie Howard from the University of Toronto a member of the Canadian National Swim team.
Manley said she felt good with the win and cited the meet as an important indicator for the OUA finals. She added the win over Howard was an extra bonus.
"You don't know how a person feels on each day," she said of her competition. "It's good to know you're up there with them." Manley added she felt the meet aided the teams' confidence. "It does especially because everyone swam well. It builds confidence and you have more fun out there and swim fast."
Belfry said the meet was a good experience which gave his team an idea of the competition they will be facing. "Both teams are quite young," he said. "They are definitely learning about competing and adapting to university swimming."
Guelph head coach Alan Fairweather said the meet was incredibly long, considering he and Belfry coach both the men's and the women's team for their respective schools. He added the competition started well, but tapered off very quickly.
"The competition started off great in the morning but both the men and the women got tired as the meet went on," he said. "The general level of OU swimming is not quite the level it has been in the past years."
While this lack of quality may seem like a minus, Fairweather said it makes the competition a little more wide open. "In past years, I could sit down and say who was going to come in first through seventh. This year, your guess is as good as mine."