Vikes take on the best in the country at the U SPORTS Swimming Championships

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VICTORIA – The UVic Vikes swimming team will compete in their biggest meet of the year this weekend at the U SPORTS National Championships in Sherbrooke, Que. from February 24-26.

Thirteen Vikes have earned the right to compete at nationals by posting qualifying times fast enough to rank them among the best in Canada throughout their season.

It will be a relatively experienced Vikes roster competing at nationals; all four women and five of the nine men were members of the Vikes nationals team last year.

With no athletes in their fourth of fifth-years of eligibility the women’s team that travels to Sherbrooke will be young but experienced.

Third-years Kaitlin Gervais and Taylor Snowden-Richardson are both going to have a full schedule at nationals after they qualified in three and four events respectively. Gervais sits in the top-eight in the U SPORTS national rankings in both the 400-m and 800-metre freestyle events.

Second-years Victoria Mock and Kara Wilson both raced at nationals as rookies last year and have posted qualifying times this year in five events apiece.

Fifth-years Aidan Thirkell and Brett Zollen will provide plenty of experience on the men’s side. Zollen can show off his versatility in the 50-m and 100-metre freestyle, 50-m and 100-metre butterfly and finally the 50-m and 100-metre breaststroke.

Jon McKay returns to defend the 1500-metre freestyle gold medal that he captured at nationals last year. The fourth-year finished just off the podium in both the 1500-m and 400-metre freestyle races at the Canada West championships earlier this season.

Sebastien Michaud and Buzz Mallender are a pair of third-years that have qualified for four races and will have experience dealing with the pressure of nationals as they were at the competition last year.

Second-year Vike Eric Hedlin might pose the biggest threat to McKay’s defense of the 1500-metre freestyle crown, after he captured gold in that event at the Canada West championships. Hedlin had a great weekend at the conference championships as he also picked up a silver medal in the 400-metre freestyle.

Christopher DeeganBailey Espersen and Justin Schramm will all look to burst onto the national scene with some success in their first ever trip to nationals

Travelling Roster 

Women:

Kaitlin Gervais (200, 400, 800 freestyle)
Victoria Mock (200 IM, 400 IM, 200 butterfly, 400, 800 freestyle)
Kara Wilson (50, 100, 200 breaststroke, 200 IM, 100 freestyle)
Taylor Snowden-Richardson (200, 400, 800 freestyle, 200 backstroke)

Men:

Brett Zollen (50, 100 freestyle, 50, 100 butterfly, 50, 100 breaststroke)
Aidan Thirkell (50, 100, 200 breaststroke)
Eric Hedlin (200, 400, 1500 freestyle, 400 IM)
Bailey Espersen (50, 100, 200 breaststroke, 200 IM)
Buzz Mallender (100, 200 backstroke, 100, 200 freestyle)
Sebastien Michaud (200, 400 IM, 50, 100 backstroke)
Jon McKay (200, 400, 1500 freestyle, 200 butterfly)
Justin Schramm (100, 200 butterfly, 200, 400 freestyle)
Christopher Deegan (400 IM, 400, 1500 freestyle)

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