January 28, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 65  

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Swimmers’ confidence rising heading into provincials

By Marshall Bellamy

Gazette Staff

Dave Picard/Gazette
IT’S TIMES LIKE THIS I WISH I HADN’T PEED IN THE POOL. An unidentified member of Western’s swim team gets a mouthful of “water” this past weekend at Thames Hall in their meet against the Waterloo Warriors.

The term “sleeping with the fishes” is usually used by nefarious and portly Italian gangsters in reference to snitches and guys who sleep with their sisters, not about the Western swimming team. Well, at Friday’s dual meet, the swimming Mustangs proved that point and did everything but sleep.

So while much of Western’s beer-drinking community were boggie- woggieing it up on dance floors around town, the Mustangs’ swimming squad drowned the Waterloo Warriors at the Thames Hall pool in what seemed like a typhoon of first place heat finishes.

“We rocked Waterloo,” said Mustangs’ women’s captain Steph Corker.

While Waterloo’s squad managed to finish first in several of their heats, the meet was largely dominated by Western swimmers, who are now looking to their real rivals in the coming weeks.
“Waterloo’s not our tough competition; [Toronto] is our big competition,” she added, referring to the Ontario University Athletics championships, which are to be held on Feb. 13-15.

Corker had a first place finish for the women’s 800-metre freestyle event and a second place finish in her heat for the 400-metre freestyle.

Men’s team captain Ben Hedley said the dual meet was a great opportunity for the team to prepare for the OUA championship.

“Basically today we were just starting the process for the big meets, so it was more to see how well we can swim — it’s just trying to get in proper racing mode again.”

Hedley, who placed first in his heats for the 200-metre and 100-metre freestyle, indicated that there were good performances from all of the Mustangs, especially considering the heavy training the team has been enduring.

Western head coach Paul Midgely was quick to point out the importance of small dual meets, such as the one on Friday against Waterloo.

“You can’t hide. In a workout sometimes you can hide a performance. Not here. You stand up, you go and the watch doesn’t lie. It lets them know what they’ve got to work on and what’s working right and what they’ve got to do better,” he said.

Waterloo’s swimming coach, Ryan Cartlidge, echoed Midgely’s sentiments of the small dual meets throughout the year.

“They’re very important in terms of the preparations for getting ready for the championships, and if we didn’t have them, it would be like asking the basketball team to not have any of their league games and then go into the tournament championship,” he said.

While the swimmers are looking to the provincial championships, Midgely is thinking about the difficult Canadian championships being held in Ottawa this March.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do; we’ve got to be able to show the top athletes of the country that this is a viable program and it’s one that they can come to not just to maintain their performance, but actually get better,” Midgely explained.

“When we’ve done that then we’ll be able to compete with Calgary and UBC and some of those top schools,” he said, adding recruitment has been the essential key to the swimming squad’s success and will be the deciding factor in the provincial and Canadian championships.



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