Vikes men and women’s swim teams geared up for Olympic Trials
By Jamie Umbach, Vikes Communications
With the Summer Olympics on the horizon, the Vikes men and women’s swim teams geared up for what would be a long and difficult season in 2015-16. Head coach Peter Vizsolyi’s swimmers added Olympic Trials to their workload along with their already busy meet schedule, including the 2016 CIS Swimming Championships hosted by Laval University in Quebec City, Que.
After competing in three early-season events, the Vikes travelled to Vancouver, B.C. for the 2015 Canada West Swimming Championships from Nov. 27-29. Second year Kaitlin Gervais earned four bronze medals over the three days of competition while teammate Victoria Mock raced to a silver medal in the 800-metre freestyle with a time of 8:51.41. Overall, both the men and women’s teams finished fourth in each of their respective team standings.
The Vikes 4×100-metre team of Ryan Howe, Evan Letkeman, Brett Zollen and Buzz Mallender raced to a new school record on day one of the 2016 CIS Championships with a time of 3:30.58. On day two, Zollen completed his 50-metre freestyle race in a Vikes’ record time of 24.10, while Jon Mckay had a standout fifth-place performance in the men’s 400-metre. The Vikes’ biggest result came on day three when McKay earned his first CIS gold medal in the men’s 1500-metre freestyle.
A total of nine Vikes travelled to Toronto, Ont. for Olympic qualifying from Apr. 5-10 to compete across 11 different events. Many Vikes alumni, including Olympic silver- and bronze-medalist Ryan Cochrane, were also looking to race for their spot at the world’s top competition. A fifth-place finish for McKay in the men’s 1500-m freestyle closed out a strong week of performances for the Vikes. McKay finished four spots behind Vikes alumni and Olympian Cochrane, who secured top spot with a time of 15:00.75. McKay started on the FINA A standard pace but hit a wall around 800 metres and fell off standard.
2015-16 CIS ranking: Men 8th, Women 11th
2015-16 Canada West ranking: Men 4th, Women 4th
2014-15 CIS ranking: Men 8th, Women 11th
2014-15 Canada West ranking: Men 5th, Women 4th
2015-16 AWARD WINNERS:
CIS First Team All-Canadian: Jon McKay
Canada West Second Team All-Star: Victoria Mock