Volume 96, Issue 71
Wednesday, February 5, 2003

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Manley, Wood rule pool

Western Mustangs swimmers Matt Wood and Jen Manley spent more time on the podium than most Western students spend in the Stevenson-Lawson line.

The male and female swimmers cleaned up at the Ontario University Athletics Individual Championships at Brock University in St. Catharines.

Manley, in her third year of eligibility, garnered five medals: a gold in the 50 and 100 metre fly, a silver in the 200m fly, 400m medley relay (with Melissa Haick, Kaere Ballman and Jennie Cairns) and the 400m freestyle relay (with Cairns, Stephanie Hyder and Melanie Maingot).

"[Manley's performance] showed that she has made a great start on her comeback after a few years out of the water," said Western coach Paul Midgley. "I say, 'great start,' even though her performances were impressive because we expect even better things in the future."

Midgley had more reason to celebrate than the performance of his athletes, as he was honoured with OUA women's Coach of the Year status.

Wood was equally proficient, securing a gold in the 50m freestyle and the 400m freestyle relay (with Benjamin Hedley, Aaron Maszko and Nicholas Peterkin), a silver in the 50m fly and the 50m breast stroke and a bronze in the 100m breast stroke.

"[Wood] had a very good meet – he prepares and executes his races very well. It was an outstanding clutch performance at lead-off in the relay and led the way to the gold," Midgley said.

The Western medal haul didn't end with the two stars of the squad. Hyder picked up a bronze in the 100m and 200m freestyle, Ballman snagged a silver in the 100m breast stroke, Hedley also finished with a silver in the 50m freestyle (behind Wood) and finally the women's 200m medley relay team of Haick, Ballman, Maingot and Cairns finished off the medal tally with a bronze.

"Every Mustangs swimmer at the meet managed to have a scoring swim, so they all played a part in the success – it was very much a 'team' performance," Midgley remarked.

The team wraps up their season when they travel across the country to the University of Victoria for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Championships from Feb. 21-23.

– Jordan Bell

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