by Michel Bélanger
February 18, 2014, OTTAWA (CIS) – The University of British Columbia women and University of Toronto men hope to defend their team banners later this week when the top varsity swimmers in the country – including numerous Olympians – gather in Toronto for the 2014 Speedo CIS championships.
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The three-day national meet, which kicks off the CIS winter championship season, runs from Thursday to Saturday at the U of T’s Varsity Pool, with preliminaries starting at 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m. daily.
All finals will be webcast live on www.CIS-SIC.tv, while live results from all sessions will be available on the championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/swim/index.
On the women’s side, UBC comes in as two-time defending champs following a dominating performance last year in Calgary, when the Thunderbirds finished with a 143.5-point cushion over the host Dinos.
The T-Birds, who already hold the all-time mark of 18 CIS team titles since the inaugural women’s national meet in 1971, are heavily favoured to three-peat and add to their trophy collection. Led by two-time Olympian Savannah King, the UBC women are coming off a record-setting performance at the Canada West championships, where they tallied a whopping 1,071 points, almost 500 more than Calgary (574).
King, who represented Canada in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012, won all five of her races at the conference meet and was named Canada West female swimmer of the year for the fourth consecutive season. The kinesiology student from Vernon, B.C., has received the same honour at the CIS level each of the past two campaigns and could become the first swimmer in history to win it three straight times.
King is one of three Olympians on a loaded UBC women’s roster, along with Heather MacLean of Toronto and Tera Van Beilen of Oakville, Ont., who both represented Canada at the London Games and will get to swim in front of friends and family this week.
Meanwhile in the men’s competition, a dog fight is expected between UBC and the host Varsity Blues, who a year ago put an end to 18 years of UBC-Calgary domination and captured their first CIS team title since 1994.
The 2013 men’s race went down to the wire and when the dust settled, Toronto came out on top with 539 points, just edging out UBC (524) and Calgary (514).
The Blues and T-Birds were both dominant at the 2014 conference championships. Toronto claimed the OUA crown with a 213-point advantage over McMaster in the OUA meet and UBC outdistanced Calgary by 186 at the Canada West competition.
Both squads are led by a veteran swimmer who competed at last summer’s FINA world championships in Barcelona. Zack Chetrat of Oakville and Cameron Allen of Spokane, Wash., repeated as OUA and Canada West conference MVP, respectively, this season.
UBC was one of three programs to sweep the team banners and swimmer-of-the-year awards in its conference in 2013-14.
In the OUA, Toronto added the women’s title thanks in large part to female MVP Vanessa Treasure.
Dalhousie also accomplished the feat in the AUS, where the Tigers resumed their domination by capturing their 16th straight men’s banner and their 15th consecutive women’s trophy. Leading the charge were seniors Meagan Bernier and David Sharpe, a 2012 Olympian who racked up five golds in as many races in his final AUS meet.
In Quebec, the Montreal Carabins simply dominated the RSEQ season, sweeping the team titles at every meet on the schedule including the conference championships, at the end of which freshman Barbara Jardin was voted female swimmer of the year.
The only award to elude the Carabins was male-MVP honours, which went to McGill’s Pierre-Alexandre Renaud.
A 2012 Olympian from Montreal, Jardin left the competition behind in her first university campaign and finished the RSEQ championships with five gold medals in as many events. The Carabins men’s roster also boasts a London Olympian in backstroke specialist Charles Francis of Cowansville, Que.
UBC head coach Steve Price likes his troops’ chances in the women’s competition this week and hopes for the best on the men’s side, where his athletes will go up against a veteran-laden Toronto lineup.
“The core group of our women’s team is what we have had for the last few years,” says Price. “However, I felt like last year they didn’t quite swim up to their capabilities, being a post-Olympic year and all that, so we challenged them right from the start of the season to lift their game. They wanted to set records this year and they did it all the way along.
“The girls want to defend their championship. They believe they have one of the strongest, if not the strongest, teams in Canada. Their challenge is to see how many events they can (reach) the podium in. There are some great girls from across the country, so that will be a tough challenge. Savannah is undefeated in her main events, the 400m and 800m freestyle, at the CIS nationals and wants to keep that streak going and knows the importance of that as she is one of our best competitors.
“Meanwhile, we have a young guys’ team that hasn’t won on the national stage in two years. We know Toronto will be the front runner and we will try to go in there and see what we can do.”
Long-time U of T coach Byron MacDonald is looking forward to see how his swimmers fare in front of their home crowd.
“It is going to be a tremendous meet. Our team is really looking forward to it,” says MacDonald. “We just came off a great OUA championship but that’s only the first step. Our men would love nothing more than to defend our national title right here at home. Our women just won their first conference title in six years and they too would like to move up the ladder and onto the CIS podium.
“Last year (there were) three teams on the men’s side finishing within 25 points (of each other). That’s unheard of. It’s incredibly exciting. I expect a similar situation this time. The CIS championship is not about superheros. You need depth on your team, not only the all-Canadians. We have more qualifiers than any other team in the country. We’ve got a good strong team with a lot of depth and that’s what you need if you’re going to win a title.”
Montreal head coach Pierre Lamy would like to see his teams improve on their national rankings from a year ago, when the women finished fourth – less than 29.5 points off the podium – and the men ninth.
“We made very good progress this season and I think we’re in a good position to achieve our goals,” he said. “It’ll be a fierce competition as all conference champions are coming off solid meets. But I feel our swimmers are ready to compete against the best. We have a great mix of veterans who excel in a variety of events along with talented newcomers.”
Lance Cansdale’s Tigers placed fifth (women) and 11th (men) at the 2013 CIS meet.
“All year we have focused towards these CIS championships,” said Cansdale. “We are familiar with the facility and in the past have traditionally swam well there. As a team, we are excited to continue that tradition.
“The AUS conference meet was a challenge, as the quality of competition is getting better and (for us) to race tough with an eye towards the CIS championships displayed a maturity in our team confidence. We have a few stars, but our quality of depth will be telling when it comes to the overall team result.”
2014 SPEEDO CIS CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE (Heats 10 a.m. / Finals 6 p.m.)
Thursday, Feb. 20 (order of finals)
- #1 Women’s 200 Free
- #2 Men’s 200 Free
- #3 W 50 Back
- #4 M 50 Back
- #5 W 100 Breast
- #6 M 100 Breast
- #7 W 100 Fly
- #8 M 100 Fly
- #9 W 400 IM
- #10 M 400 IM
- #11 W 4×100 Free Relay
- #12 M 4×100 Free Relay
Friday, Feb. 21 (order of finals)
- #13 W 100 Back
- #14 M 100 Back
- #15 W 50 Fly
- #16 M 50 Fly
- #17 W 400 Free
- #18 M 400 Free
- #19 W 200 Breast
- #20 M 200 Breast
- #21 W 50 Free
- #22 M 50 Free
- #23 W 200 Fly
- #24 M 200 Fly
- #25 W 4×200 Free Relay
- #26 M 4×200 Free Relay
Saturday, Feb. 22 (order of finals)
- #27 W 800 Free
- #28 M 50 Breast
- #29 W 50 Breast
- #30 M 200 Back
- #31 W 200 Back
- #32 M 100 Free
- #33 W 100 Free
- #34 M 200 IM
- #35 W 200 IM
- #36 M 1500 Free
- #37 W 4×100 Medley Relay
- #38 M 4×100 Medley Relay
CIS TEAM CHAMPIONS (last 20 years)
- 2012 & 2013: UBC
- 2009 to 2011: Calgary
- 1998 to 2008 (CIS record streak): UBC
- 1997: Toronto
- 1994 to 1996: UBC
Most titles since 1971 (inaugural CIS women’s championship): UBC (18), Toronto (14)
- 2013: Toronto
- 2012: UBC
- 2010 & 2011: Calgary
- 2009: UBC
- 2008: Calgary
- 1998 to 2007 (CIS record streak): UBC
- 1995 to 1997: Calgary
- 1994: Toronto
Most titles since 1965 (inaugural CIS men’s championship): Toronto (17), Calgary (15), UBC (13)
CIS SWIMMERS OF THE YEAR (last 10 years)
- 2012-13 Savannah King, UBC
- 2011-12 Savannah King, UBC
- 2010-11 Erica Morningstar, Calgary
- 2009-10 Martha McCabe, UBC
- 2008-09 Annamay Pierse, UBC
- 2007-08 Annamay Pierse, UBC
- 2006-07 Erin Gammel, Calgary
- 2005-06 Kelly Stefanyshyn, UBC
- 2004-05 Jennifer Carroll, UQTR
- 2003-04 Erin Gammel, Calgary
- 2012-13 Kelly Aspinall, UBC
- 2011-12 Tommy Gossland, UBC
- 2010-11 Ryan Cochrane, Victoria
- 2009-10 Colin Russell, Toronto
- 2008-09 Colin Russell, Toronto
- 2007-08 Callum Ng, UBC
- 2006-07 Brian Johns, UBC
- 2005-06 Callum Ng, UBC
- 2004-05 Scott Dickens, UBC
- 2003-04 Chad Murray, Calgary
CIS CHAMPIONSHIP RECORDS
- 50m: Caroline Lapierre-Lemire, UQTR, 24.87 (2013)
- 100m: Heather MacLean, UBC, 53.78 (2012) *
- 200m: Erica Morningstar, Calgary, 1:56.11 (2009)
- 400m: Savannah King, UBC, 4:02.76 (2012)
- 800m: Savannah King, UBC, 8:25.68 (2012)
* Set as first leg of 4x100m freestyle relay
- 50m: Hanna Kubas, Calgary, 27.48 (2009)
- 100m: Katy Murdoch, Calgary, 58.67 (2009)
- 200m: Geneviève Cantin, Laval, 2:06.19 (2012)
- 50m: Annamay Pierse, UBC, 30.71 (2009)
- 100m: Annamay Pierse, UBC, 1:05.16 (2009)
- 200m: Annamay Pierse, UBC, 2:18.59 (2009)
- 50m: Jennifer Carroll, UQTR, 26.87 (2009)
- 100m: Erin Miller, Alberta, 59.12 (2012)
- 200m: Audrey Lacroix, Montreal, 2:08.69 (2007)
- 200m: Erica Morningstar, Calgary, 2:09.12 (2009)
- 400m: Tianna Rissling, Calgary, 4:37.81 (2013)
4x100m Freestyle: Calgary, 3:38.74 (2009)
(Erica Morningstar, Katy Murdoch, Seanna Mitchell, Breanna Hendriks)
4x200m Freestyle: Calgary, 7:55.91 (2009)
(Katy Murdoch, Breanna Hendriks, Kevyn Peterson, Erica Morningstar)
4x100m Medley: UBC, 4:02.45 (2012)
(Rachelle Salli, Tera Van Beilen, Grainne Pierse, Heather MacLean)
- 50m: Colin Russell, Toronto, 21.73 (2010)
- 100m: Colin Russell, Toronto, 47.23 (2009)
- 200m: Colin Russell, Toronto, 1:43.31 (2009)
- 400m: Rick Say, Calgary, 3:43.91 (2001)
- 1500m: Turlough O’Hare, UBC, 14:52.32 (1992)
- 50m Kelly Aspinall, UBC, 24.05 (2013)
- 100m Kelly Aspinall, UBC, 51.95 (2013)
- 200m: Chris Renaud, Calgary, 1:54.68 (1997)
- 50m: Jason Block, Calgary, 27.22 (2013)
- 100m: Jason Block, Calgary, 59.08 (2013)
- 200m: Mike Brown, Calgary, 2:07.58 (2009)
- 50m: Mike Smerek, Toronto, 23.33 (2012)
- 100m: Coleman Allen, UBC, 51.88 (2013)
- 200m: Brian Johns, UBC, 1:54.76 (2003)
- 200m: Keith Beavers, Waterloo, 1:55.98 (2009)
- 400m: Brian Johns, UBC, 4:02.72 (2003)
- 4x100m Freestyle: UBC 3:15.30 (2012)
- (Kelly Aspinall, Tommy Gossland, Rory Biskupski, Duncan Furrer)
- 4x200m Freestyle: UBC, 7:10.95 (2003)
- (Brian Johns, Mark Johnston, Brent Hayden, Justin Tisdall)
- 4x100m Medley: UBC, 3:33.04 (2009)
- (Callum Ng, Scott Dickens, Rory Biskupski, Tommy Gossland)