UBC’s Savannah King, Coleman Allen are Swimmers of the Year



January 28, 2013, Edomonton, AB (ISN)  – UBC Thunderbirds star student-athlete Savannah King continued her dominance, earning female Swimmer of the Year at the 2013 Canada West championships, hosted by the University of Victoria at Saanich Commonwealth Place, while teammate University of Calgary’s Coleman Allen added his name to the list of greats who have claimed top male honours. 

Team titles went to the Calgary Dinos on the men’s side, who claim the E.W. Griffiths Trophy, and UBC Thunderbirds in the women’s event, winners of the Felstad Memorial Trophy. The UBC women were followed by Calgary (silver) and Alberta (bronze), while the Calgary men were followed by UBC (silver) and Alberta (bronze).

King, who set a new meet record in the women’s 200m freestyle, 800m freestyle and was part of a record-setting 800m free relay record for the T-Birds, is a five-time gold medalist this year in the 200m backstroke, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle, and the 800m freestyle relay. This is King’s second year in a row earning Athlete of the Meet honours after she broke the Canada West record in each of the 200-m, 400-m and 800-m events. She was Swimmer of the Year in CIS and Canada West last season, and Rookie of the Year at both levels in 2010-11.

Allen, out of Spokane, WA, earned top honours in the 50-m, 100-m and 200-m butterfly, 200-m freestyle, 400-m freestyle relay and 400-m medley relay. With six gold medals, Allen helped the Thunderbirds break two conference records in relay events and he broke the conference record in the 200-m butterfly with a time of 1:58.11.

Rookie of the Year went to a pair of Calgary swimmers – women’s standout Tianna Rissling and fellow Dino Russell Wood, who both set records during the meet. Rissling, originally from Redcliff, AB, took home three gold medals in her first appearance at the Canada West championships in the 50m breaststroke, 400m individual medley and the 400m freestyle relay. Rissling also broke the conference record in the 50-m breaststroke (31.11) and helped in the 400-m individual medley (4:39.22). Rissling added a bronze in the 200-m breaststroke to tally four medals.

Wood earned three gold medals in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke, also earning him Canada West All-Star honours. Wood also bested the conference record in both the 100-m and 200-m backstroke with times of 53.07 and 1:56.40, respectively.

Honoured as Canada West nominees for the CIS student-athlete award are Scott Stewart from the University of Alberta and UBC’s Laura Thompson.

Stewart, a fourth-year science student, has been a competitive swimmer in the pool for the Alberta Bears. The Calgary native qualified for the CIS Championship in 2012 in five events and is this year competing in three events at the 2013 Canada West Championship. Stewart had a GPA of 3.8 last season and has already accumulated a 3.89 in first semester of this academic year. This past summer Stewart volunteered in South Africa teaching life skills, health and enterprise to high school students. Stewart is one of the Bears’ team captains this season and volunteers regularly at the local children’s hospital.

Fourth-year Thompson is majoring in political science and minoring in economics at the University of British Columbia. In addition to her competitive swimming, the Ontario native has been very active teaching swimming to members of the African Awareness Initiative Club, volunteering on the UBC Athletic council and in May 2012, Thompson helped build houses on a Habitat for Humanity trip in El Salvador. Thompson is also an athlete ambassador for the 60 Minutes Kids Club and was the winner of the Inaugural UBC Twenty-8 Leadership Award.

Coaches were also honoured for leading their side to success at the event, with Mike Blondal of Calgary named men’s Coach of the Year and Steve Price from UBC getting the nod top female team coach for a second consecutive season. Blondal has been honoured several times during his U of C career, winning Canada West male and female Coach of the Year three times each, and in 2011 he won the CIS award on both sides.

During the 2013 event, 14 records were broken – four on Friday night, five on Saturday and five on Sunday.

Following is a list of 2013 Canada West swimming Awards & All-Stars:


Athletes of the Meet


Coleman Allen, UBC

Kelly Aspinall, UBC

Jason Block, Calgary

Patrick Cowan, UBC

Sergey Holson, UBC

Bogdan Knezevic, Calgary

Alec Page, Victoria

Zac Parkes, Victoria

Luke Peddie, UBC

Reid Scarrow, Calgary

Gleb Suvorov, Calgary

Russell Wood, Calgary

David Woodman, Calgary

Bryan Wray, Calgary


Kendra Chernoff, Alberta

Lindsay Delman, Calgary

Fiona Doyle, Calgary

Brittney Harley, UBC

Savannah King, UBC

Heather MacLean, UBC

Erica Morningstar, Calgary

Grainne Pierse, UBC

Amanda Reason, Calgary

Tianna Rissling, Calgary

Erin Stamp, UBC

Tera Van Beilen, UBC

All qualifiers now head to the CIS championship meet, February 21-23 at the University of Calgary.