Volume 94, Issue 82

Tuesday, February 27, 2001


Western women win

Nine go to CIAU meet in Guelph

What makes an athlete?

Nine go to CIAU meet in Guelph

By Jessica Leeder
/i>Gazette Staff

The swim teams have made their last splash of the year.

Last weekend, the Western swim teams travelled to Guelph in hopes of making a splash at the meet they have been training for, all year long – the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletics Union championships.

Only nine swimmers from Western qualified for the meet: Carmen Barnett, Sarah Teetzel, Jen Manley, Natasha Collia and Crystal Clark for the women, and Matt Wood, Andrew Munro, John Hewerdine and Nathan Degiorgio on behalf of the men.

Noticeably missing from the men's relay effort was first-year swimmer Aaron Maszko, who according to head coach Glen Belfry, failed to qualify for the trip by five one-hundredths of a second.

"Degiorgio, who is an excellent breast-stroker, took his place in the freestyle relays. Maszko is a very talented first-year swimmer, but I guess you just have to make do with the swimmers you have," Belfry said.

Maszko's spirits were understandably lowered by the situation – he has been an important link for his team in the 400m freestyle relay all season. He declined to comment.

All in all, Belfry said he was proud of both his teams' efforts. "We were encouraged by the results, but you always want to swim better. Both teams are young."

Belfry said he was not making excuses for his teams' 17th and 14th place finishing, noting that had the year gone smoother, there may have been more rewarding results.

"Carmen has really only been back in the pool for about a year, after taking last year off to do her Ontario Academic Credits. Jen Manley is also still getting back into the flow of things after having had surgery, and Collia was in a car accident last year that made training difficult for her – it hasn't been an easy ride, and with a young team, it takes a bit longer to get into top form."

Despite all of this, the future of the Mustang swimmers is looking bright. According to team co-captain Andrew Munro, the team will not be losing any swimmers to graduation, though some are speculating retirement.

"We enjoyed swimming beside the best swimmers in the country," Munro said, expressing his positive feelings on the weekend. "We did really good for having such a small team."

Munro said the highlight of the weekend was beating McMaster University, who, according to Belfry, has not been bested by Western since 1978. "They are a dominating Ontario University Athletics team, but it just proves that our top end swimmers are better than theirs."

Munro said the swimmers are officially done competing for the year, though many will conti nue to train on their own, or as part of other teams during the off-season.

He also said that an increase in the team's success will depend on whether or not the swim mers stay in shape throughout the summer months.

The University of British Columbia took home gold in both the men's and women's championships, and the meet was composed of as many as 14 Olympic-calibre swimmers, Belfry said.

"Swimming in Canada is really fast and qualifying to go to nationals is difficult. In order to qualify for CIAUs, you really have to be among the top 16 in the country."

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