Western cheerleaders full of pep
Still purple after all these years
All 'Stangs get in sync
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All 'Stangs get in sync
By Sean Maraj
All right swimmers synchronize.
That's exactly what Western's synchronized swimming team will be doing this weekend as they kick off their season in Peterborough at the Trent Invitational tournament Saturday.
The Mustangs, who swam their way to a strong fourth place finish last year, are looking to break into the top three in the Ontario University Athletics championship this year. The team is backed by returning veterans and has only two new swimmers.
"We're looking really well, our team routine is almost finished and is ahead of schedule. It helps to be done early, our team knows we're looking good this year and everyone is excited," said Western head coach Hilary Brandon.
The veteran backbone of the team will be pivotal if they are to improve on last year's finish and challenge Queen's University, the defending OUA champions. Brandon added the returning veterans are the team's force this year and their experience, added to the team's overall level of talent, will be a major factor in how the season turns out.
"Our biggest strength is that almost half the team are veterans. We have everyone at a really high level and everyone is at the same level, which also helps," Brandon said.
Queen's head coach Meghan Hanna was confident about how her team would do this season and thought the Golden Gaels had a good chance of winning it all again.
"We're hoping to have a repeat," Hanna said on her team's chances. "I think we're strong with our team routines and we don't have too many weaknesses as long as we work hard."
Western assistant coach Sarah Gravel thought her team's toughest competition would be Queen's, who are traditionally a force in synchronized swimming. "Queen's has won in the last two years, they're pretty strong and they have good ability."
But Gravel was also confident the Mustangs have what it takes to compete at the top of the OUA and said as the season wears on, they will improve. "As the team progresses [they are] going to get better in overall ability," she said.
Hanna, although confident her team would do well this year, said Queen's will face strong competition, as the OUA has become much stronger in recent years.
"We have lots of strong competition. Other teams like Western, McGill [University] and McMaster [University] have strong teams," Hanna said.
As the season begins, Brandon remained confident and had high expectations that her team would do very well this year.
"We have a strong feeling and everybody is psyched about [the season]," she said.