Swimmers take home double silver at OUAs

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Jumping from the diving boards

Jonas Hrebeniuk

ON THIS EPISODE OF CRISS ANGEL STREET MAGIC, SWIMMERS LEVITATE. The Mustangs' bag of tricks did not lead to OUA gold this past weekend, but the swim teams look promising heading into nationals.

While neither the men nor women’s swim team took home gold at this past weekend’s Ontario University Athletics championships, both found a silver lining to the tournament with second-place finishes to the University of Toronto.

With 602.5 overall team points, the women were well ahead of the third place Guelph Gryphons, while the men rode a strong final day to place ahead of the McMaster Marauders. Heading into the final day of competition, the men were 13.5 points back of second place.

“Both teams performed very, very well and there were great results on both sides,” Western head coach Paul Midgley said.

“The surprise of the meet would have to be the performance of the men’s team ... I think [the men] were sort of anticipated to be around third to fifth spot going into the meet.”

On the men’s side, Ryan Atkison stood out from the pack, taking home four silver medals and two bronze. However, Midgley said it was strong overall performances that enabled the men to finish second.

Mustangs swimming

“There were really no superstars on the team, just a lot of good swimmers " swimmers that trained very hard and were truly dedicated this season,” he said.

“I think for the first time in a couple of years they got the most out of themselves, as opposed to just relying on one or two swimmers to carry the load. They all stood up and did what they had to do individually and had a total team effort to get second place.”

While the women could not overtake the Toronto Varsity Blues, Western featured some standout performances from swimmers such as Hayley Nell and Lenore Chesworth.

Nell captured two gold medals and had the most overall points of any female swimmer, which enabled her to capture Swimmer of the Meet honours.

“The race I knew I had to do well on was the last day; I knew I needed my 50m freestyle to be fast. I guess for me that was the race I needed to step up in,” she said.

While the women’s team could not overtake the Blues this year, Nell said the team has the potential to win the OUA crown in the near future.

Mustangs swimming

“U of T has a lot of depth " they have a few amazing swimmers, but all of their swimmers are going to get to the finals and get into the top 16 spots [where the points are],” she said.

“We’ve got a lot of talent and a lot of people who can potentially step up and fill those roles, so we also have four or five people getting into the finals. You can have amazing standout swims by people, but as a whole the team needs to stand out together.”

Chesworth, who finished with an Olympic trials qualifying time in the 400m individual medley, said the individuals who qualified for Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships in two weeks will acquire valuable experience competing against the country’s best.

“We want to work on moving our rankings up from where we were last year. We’re not yet at the point where we are going to win [the championship], but we’ll get to that point,” she said. “You have to go in baby steps, and this year we made huge improvements and [CIS] will be interesting.”

For his part, Midgley believes both teams have the potential for strong performances on the national stage.

“The women’s team is looking good. I still think with a strong meet we can be in the top five. At the moment we just have Ryan qualified on the men’s side, but there’s another OUA event this week that can put another two or three through,” he said.

“If we do that we can have a top 10 performance on the men’s as well ... given where we started this season, that would be a tremendous accomplishment.”

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette