Hockey team clinches first place
Western's winning card records their 27th title
The most synchronized team
Exhibiting some indoor talent
The most synchronized team
By Sean Maraj
The key to success in synchronized swimming is teamwork.
The Mustangs proved this point by winning the team event and coming in second overall at the Ontario University Athletics synchronized swimming finals last weekend in Toronto.
The Mustangs produced several key performances on top of their first place finish in the team category. Putting in strong performances for the team were Gillian Cousineau and Sarah Gravel, who won the duet category and Gayle-Anne Ball and Sonja Clark who finished fourth in the duet.
Other strong finishes were in solo categories and included Katie Fisher placing third and team captain Sarah Gravel placing fourth. But while the team was executing the strong finishes, Western was also bringing back several other honours. Ball, Cousineau and Gravel were named synchronized all-stars while Gravel also took home the MVP award.
Gravel commended Western's strong performance and hard work over the weekend. "The team was really amazing. Everyone came together, everything clicked all the practices and all the work the presentation was amazing," she said.
Western head coach Hilary Brandon said she was also pleased with the team's performance and added it was their best finish in the last five years. "We did excellent, a lot of strong finishes, I'm really happy with everything," Brandon said. "I've been here for five years and we've never had such a good season. Everyone worked for it this year and it showed."
The Mustangs finished only 14 points behind their season long rival, Queen's University Ð a team which has dominated the synchronized swimming circuit for the past four years. Gravel said she thought the difference between the two teams rested in the technical categories.
"In the tech routines, we needed to have two placings. If we had done that we would have probably beaten Queen's. Everything else was perfect,"
Brandon agreed her team could have done better in the tech routine, but was still happy with the overall finish. "There was one category we didn't get any points that hurt," Brandon said.
Queen's assistant coach Tracey Brit said she was impressed by her team's outing and pointed to their continued dominance. "We really did well, I'm really happy with the outcome. We brought home the [OUA] banner for the fourth year in a row," she said.
Brit also noted while her team did well, the competition they faced this year was much stronger than in the past. She said Western was perhaps the one team which had vastly improved over past years with its second place finish.
"[The OUA] is much improved. Western placed first in the team [category]. They've come a long way it's getting harder every year," Brit said.
With the second place overall finish and first place in the team category, Gravel referred to this year as a huge success. "This season was good, everyone was determined to do their best and they did."