Excerpt on Athletics from the 2011-12 Principal’s Report
“A lot of the things that I ask the swimmers to do are things that any sane person would turn their nose up at.” | Peter Carpenter
Steven Bielby is no slacker. He graduated from the Department of Electrical Engineering with an impressive 3.9 GPA in the spring, did a summer internship with the ABB Group in Mannheim, Germany, and dived into a master’s degree this fall. The 23-year-old is competitive in athletics as well as academics, having earned 11 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) medals, six of them gold, to make him McGill’s most decorated swimmer. No, Steven’s not a slacker. He’s just not super keen on doing 10 sets of race-pace 100-metre sprints. “The best adjectives to describe them,” says Bielby, the good-natured native of Pointe Claire, Quebec, “would be brutal and intense.”
That’s where Peter Carpenter, head coach of McGill’s swim team since 2009, steps in. “A lot of the things that I ask the swimmers to do are things that any sane person would turn their nose up at,” admits Carpenter. “Waking up at 5 o’clock on a -30 degree morning? Eight two-hour water workouts a week? Plus two 90-minute dry land workouts? The workload is huge–plus the schoolwork. But as an elite athlete, you have to make that choice.”
For Carpenter, one of the joys of coaching is learning how to talk to each athlete as an individual. What may encourage one to find that extra gear may flop for another. “The one thing athletes at this level all have in common is that they know what they need to do to finish that 400-metre individual medley in Olympic trials–so I’m really just reminding them.”
It’s those reminders that help Steven push through the dreaded 100-metre sprint sets. Well, that plus the friendly rivalry among teammates. “We’re all in the sport because we like to race,” he says, “and we don’t like to lose.”
Competitive spirit was in overdrive during the 2011-12 season. The year saw 18 out of 28 varsity teams compete in national championships, a new single-season school record. It also saw its two McGill Athletes of the Year, hockey players Ann-Sophie Bettez and Marc-André Dorion (below), sweep the prestigious CIS athlete of the year prizes–the first time both awards went to students at the same university.
Ann-Sophie Bettez and Marc-André Dorion” height=”320″ src=”http://www.mcgillathletics.ca/http://www.mcgill.ca/principals-report/sites/mcgill.ca.principals-report/files/images/athletics_1.jpg” title=”Ann-Sophie Bettez and Marc-André Dorion” width=”502″ />
Other highlights from this inspiring season include:
In their 136th season, the Redmen hockey team won their first-ever CIS national title with a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory over Western.
League champions included women’s synchro, who earned their eighth consecutive title in the Canadian University Synchro Swim League,and men’s rugby, who hoisted their sixth consecutive RSEQ provincial banner. Men’s and women’s hockey, women’s basketball, women’s cross-country running and women’s swimming also brought home a league banner.
Swimmers Steven Bielby (bronze, 200m and 400m individual medley) and Marc-André Benoit (bronze, 100m freestyle) claimed CIS medals along with the track team, which merited bronze medals in both the 1000m (Charlene Puel) and 4x800m relay (Puel, Aimee Castro, Sarah McCuaig and Alexandra Morin-Boucher). The Martlets volleyball team claimed their first-ever CIS medal, winning the bronze.
The men’s lacrosse team won the CUFLA East Conference title.
164 individuals were honoured in the fall for making the 2011 Principal’s Student-athlete Honour Roll, including 86 who earned CIS Academic All-Canadian status.
London 2012 Olympics & Paralympics
Seven athletes from the McGill community participated in the London 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games:
Swimmer Valérie Grand’Maison (current history and psychology student) who won a gold medal, and set a world record, in the women’s 200-metre individual medley at the 2012 London Paralympic Games. She also won two silver medals, in the S13 50- and 100-metre freestyle.
Former Redmen rowers Doug Vandor (BSc’98; MSc’02) and Derek O’Farrell (BSc’07)
Former Martlet swimmer Victoria Poon (BSc’10)
Former Martlet volleyball star Marie-Andrée Lessard (BCom’01), competing in beach volleyball
Wrestler Martine Dugrenier (BEd’08)
Synchonized swimmer Jo-Annie Fortin (current psychology student)