Benoit busts loose, breaks records, bags six gold medals at AUS swim meet in Halifax


Marc-Andre Benoit

HALIFAX — Marc-Andre Benoit of St. Hyacinthe, Que., won six gold medals and smashed a pair of school records leading the McGill University men’s swim team to finish second of seven teams at the AUS Invitational, a three-day meet hosted by Dalhousie University over the weekend.

It was a superb meet for the McGill swimmers, who overcame the effects of a 14-hour bus trip to qualify 10 more athletes for the CIS championship meet in February, bringing the team’s total to 14 qualifiers with three meets remaining before Nationals.

Benoit, a six-foot, 180-pound freestyle and butterfly specialist, easily surpassed his own McGill record in100-metre fly, touching the wall in 53.44 seconds and destroying the previous standard of 54.50. It was the second fastest 100 fly in the CIS this season. The 24-year-old accounting senior who has earned Academic All-Canadian honours, also erased the previous McGill mark in the 200 free with a time of 1:49.42. Benoit, who was previously part of the Candian national program, was under the 50-second barrier in the 100 free for the first time in more than two years, qualifying in 49.86. It was an eventful weekend for the Redmen team captain, who qualified to swim at the CIS championships in four events, winning the 100 and 200 freestyles, as well as the 50 and 100 butterflys. He also helped the relay squads sweep the 4×100 freestyle and the 4×100 medley.

“I’m especially pleased about Benoit’s performance. It’s not very common at the age of 24 to have significant drops (in time) like he did this past weekend. It just does not happen,” said McGill head coach Peter Carpenter. “It’s a result of hard work, perseverence and super discipline. He’s doing exceptionally well in school and in the pool. I’m very happy for a guy like that, in his last year of school, to still manage to get time drops like that.”

Other Redmen to qualify were David Whiteside (200 fly and 400 free), Luke Robert (50 and 100 free), Erik Cheng (50 breast) and Rhys Johnson (200 back).

Whiteside swam the 200 fly in 2:04.99 then posted a personal best of 3:58.01 in the 400 free. Robert registered a lifetime best in the 50 free by a massive four-tenths of a second in 23.21, leading off a time trial that wasn’t part of the regular meet scoring in the 4×50 free that was clocked in 1:32.18, breaking the team record of 1:33.30. Robert, was joined on that quartet by Benoit, Joseph Blackwood and Cheng, who later qualified in the 50 breast with a time of 29.48.

McGill also finished second on the women’s side, led by double gold medalists Valerie De Broux, Simone Cseplo and Katie Caldwell.

New CIS qualifiers were Alicia Chung (200 fly), Adriane Lui (50 fly), Rebecca Gibson (50 free and 50 fly), Fanny Gervais-Cartier (400 IM and 800 free) and Christine Aglot (50 back). They join the previously qualified Katie Caldwell, Simone Cseplo, Jessica Warrack and Valerie De Broux.

“No doubt that the guys had break-out performances but I was also very encouraged by the times produced by the girls,” said Carpenter, who was especially pleased about a McGill sweep of all four relays, where McGill finished ahead of host Dalhousie, considered strong favourites in their own pool. “We had another six to eight others, probably six of them women, who are on the cusp of qualifying for Nationals.”

Kind of made the 28-hour round-trip bus ride worth it.

The McGill squad will close out their first semester with a recently-added university qualifier meet to their schedule this weekend at the Cote St. Luc Recreation & Aquatics Centre. The two-day competition kicks off on Friday at 7 p.m., then continues on Saturday afternoon, beginning at 1:45 p.m.



(2014 AUS Invitational Invitational @ Dalhousie, Nov. 21-23)
Gold Marc-Andre Benoit 100 freestyle 0:50.15 CIS
Gold Marc-Andre Benoit 200 freestyle 1:49.42 CIS
Gold Marc-Andre Benoit 50 butterfly 0:24.84 CIS
Gold Marc-Andre Benoit 100 butterfly 0:53.44 CIS
Gold Rhys Johanson 200 back 2:02.43 CIS
Gold Gabriel Fortin, M-A Benoit, David Whiteside, Luke Robert 4×100 freestyle relay 3:22.67 CIS
Gold Rhys Johanson, Erik Cheng,
M-A Benoit,Luke Robert
4×100 medley relay 3:46.65
Gold David Whiteside 200 butterfly 2:05.16 CIS
Silver Luke Robert 100 freestyle 0:50.37 CIS
Silver Gabriel Fortin 50 butterfly 0:25.82
Silver Loic Chaubet 200 breast 2:21.76
Silver Luke Robert 50 freestyle 0:23.31 CIS
Bronze Rhys Johanson 200 IM 2:07.22
Bronze Gabriel Fortin 50 freestyle 0:23.42
Bronze Keelan Marks 400 IM 4:36.83
Gold Valerie De Broux 100 breast 1:11.73 CIS
Gold Valerie De Broux 200 breast 2:36.34 CIS
Gold Simone Cseplo 100 freestyle 0:56.28 CIS
Gold Simone Cseplo 50 backstroke 0:28.98 CIS
Gold Katie Caldwell 400 IM 4:47.04 CIS
Gold Katie Caldwell 200 IM 2:15.24 CIS
Gold Adriane Lui 50 butterfly 0:28.28 CIS
Gold Jessica Warrack, Simone Cseplo, Fanny Gervais-Cartier, Katie Caldwell 4×100 freestyle relay 3:51.77 CIS
Gold Simone Cseplo, Valerie De Broux, Alicia Chang, Katie Caldwell 4×100 medley relay 3:46.65
Silver Valerie De Broux 200 butterfly 2:18.68 CIS
Silver Alicia Chang 50 butterfly 0:28.84
Silver Adriane Lui 100 butterfly 1:02.93 CIS
Bronze Alicia Chang 200 butterfly 2:20.17 CIS
Bronze Nicole Robinson 200 back 1:05.08
Bronze Rebecca Gibson 50 freestyle 0:26.76
Bronze Rebecca Gibson 50 butterfly 0:29.06 CIS
Bronze Fanny Gervais-Cartier 800 freestyle 9:03.23 CIS
4th Jessica Warrack 200 IM 2:21.11 CIS
4th Christine Aglot 50 backstroke 0:29.69 CIS
1 Dalhousie 244
2 McGill 228
3 Acadia 106
4 Mt. Allison 75
5 UNB 63
6 UPEI 12
1 Dalhousie 245.5
2 McGill 193
3 Acadia 139.5
4 Memorial 65
5 Mt. Allison 48
6 UNB 26
7 UPEI 7

Earl Zukerman
McGill Sports Info Office