By Jamie Umbach, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes men and women’s swimming teams sit in fifth and fourth place, respectively, after day one of the Canada West Swimming Championships in Vancouver, B.C. at the UBC Aquatic Centre.
The host UBC Thunderbirds lead the women’s standings with 196 points ahead of the second-place Calgary Dinos (188.5) and third-place Alberta (120). The Vikes women sit at 94 points after day one – 36 points off the podium. Calgary is comfortably ahead in the men’s standings with 203 points while the Vikes men sit fifth at the end of the first day of competition, just three points behind fourth-place Lethbridge.
The Vikes medalled in three events, with all three coming in long distance. First-year Vike Victoria Mock won silver in the women’s 800-metre freestyle with a time of 8:51.41, while teammate and second-year Vike Kaitlin Gervais finished behind Mock for the bronze with a time of 8:53.40.
The next medal for the Vikes came in the women’s 800-metre freestyle relay. The team of Mock, Gervais, Sarah Galbraith and Taylor Snowden-Richardson raced to a bronze medal in the team event with a time of 8:28.87 – five seconds off the Dinos in second. The bronze medal is a great accomplishment, as three swimmers had just raced the 800-metre freestyle and one competed in the 50-metre backstroke.
Third-year Vike Jon McKay had a strong race in the men’s 1500-metre freestyle with a time of 15:19.71, ultimately finishing fourth and falling short of the podium by four seconds. In the men’s 800-metre freestyle relay, the Vikes men’s team consisting of McKay, Evan Letkeman, Brett Zollen and Ryan Howe put in a fourth place performance of 7:38.53.
“There were a lot of best time efforts from our swimmers today,” said Vikes swimming assistant coach Ryan Clouston. “Some of the other teams rested a fair bit more than us coming into what is essentially a mid-season meet. The Vikes fought hard to be at their best against fresh competition.”
The Vikes came closest in the short distance with a fifth-place finish from Gabraith, who raced to 32.49 to improve her personal best in the women’s 50-metre breaststroke. On the men’s side, although Richard Bourgeois may have only placed sixth in the 50-metre breaststroke, he broke Vikes legend John Stamhuis’ university record in the race with a time of 28.92.
UBC exhibited their strength by earning ten medals, including a sweep of the podium in the women’s 50-metre breaststroke. The Dinos earned a rare double gold in the women’s 50-metre backstroke, as Chelsea Shaul and Leah Smal tied for first, both recording a time of 29.14.
Day two begins Saturday, Nov. 28 with heats starting at 10:00 a.m. before finals at 5:00 p.m. All races can be streamed live at canadawest.tv.
Vikes Swimming Results:
800-m Freestyle Relay: 3rd – Sarah Galbraith, Kaitlin Gervais, Taylor Snowden-Richardson, Victoria Mock (8:28.87)
800-m Freestyle: 2nd – Victoria Mock (8:51.41), 3rd – Kaitlin Gervais (8:53.40), 10th – Taylor Snowden-Richardson (9:09.76), 11th – Jessie Ogden (9:16.30)
50-m Breaststroke: 5th – Sarah Galbraith (32.49), 15th – Kara Wilson (34.11)
1500-m Freestyle: 4th – Jon McKay (15:19.71),
800-m Freestyle Relay: 4th – Brett Zollen, Ryan Howe, Jon McKay, Evan Letkeman (7:38.53)
50-m Butterfly: 9th – Garrett Mallender (25.32), 11th – Brett Zollen (25.72)
50-m Backstroke: 9th – Evan Letkeman (26.84), 13th – Sebastien Michaud (27.28)
50-m Breaststroke: 6th – Richard Bourgeois (28.92), 16th – Aidan Thirkell (29.91)
Canada West Swimming Championship Standings – Day One:
1. UBC (196)
2. Calgary (188.5)
3. Alberta (120)
4. Victoria (94)
5. Lethbridge (92.5)
6. Manitoba (69)
7. Regina (68)
8. Thompson Rivers (3)
1. Calgary (203)
2. Alberta (162)
3. UBC (148)
4. Lethbridge (90)
5. Victoria (87)
6. Regina (61)
7. Manitoba (38)