TORONTO – Chris Manning and Paige Schultz won two individual races apiece on Thursday to lead the host University of Toronto Blues to first place at the 2013 University Challenge Cup swimming competition.

Toronto’s men finished atop the standings with 228 points, ahead of Calgary (203.5) and Alberta (196), while the Blues women also placed first with 225 points, ahead of Calgary (191) and UBC (177).

Manning, who represented Canada at FINA World Championships in 2013, set a meet record in the 50-metre freestyle and also added a win in the 100-m freestyle. He also helped the U of T to victory in the 4×200-m freestyle relay. 

“It was really a great way to start off the new season,” said Manning, originally from Brantford, Ont. “It was nice to see my starts and turns being particularly strong already. It sets me up for the rest of the season where I hope to make Canada’s teams for the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships.”

Frank Despond and the men’s 4×200-m medley relay also won for Toronto on the men’s side. Schultz was involved in all four Blues women’s victories. She took the women’s 100-m individual medley and 100-m freestyle and was on the 4×200-m freestyle and 4×100-m medley relays.

The University of Calgary produced six wins on the day. On the women’s side, Fiona Doyle was a double winner placing first in the 50-m freestyle and 100-m breaststroke while Lindsay Delmar took the 400-m freestyle. For the Calgary men, Bogdan Knezevic swept the IM events (100-m and 200-m) and Russell Wood, a national team member in 2013, topped the 100-m backstroke field.

‘’It’s a great meet to stimulate the rivalries for the university season and CIS championships,” said Byron MacDonald, head coach at the University of Toronto.  “We didn’t expect to win this event but our swimmers rose up after a busy fall.”

Many of the top swimmers from the University Challenge Cup will remain at the Varsity Pool at the University of Toronto Athletic Centre for two more days of short-course action in the Canada Cup – Toronto. A total of 470 swimmers from 69 clubs across six provinces will compete on Friday and Saturday.

Other well-known names who will be on hand include Olympians Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., Andrew Ford of Guelph, Ont., David Sharpe of Halifax, Zsofi Balazs and Martha McCabe of Toronto, and Stephanie Horner, Barbara Jardin, Audrey Lacroix and Victoria Poon of Montreal.

Preliminary heats begin at 9:30 a.m. with finals sessions starting at 6 p.m. Opening ceremonies at the Canada Cup will begin at 5:45 p.m. each night, with several awards presentations being made to kick off Swimming Canada’s Big Splash Awards Week. On Friday Swimming Canada will present the Victor Davis Awards as well as the Youth Swimmers of the Year and Junior Swimmers of the Year while Saturday will feature the presentation of the national stroke awards.