VICTORIA – The Canada West fall championship schedule is set to wrap up this weekend, as the Victoria Vikes host the 2017 CW Swimming Championships at Commonwealth Pool.
Swimmers from eight CW schools – Alberta, UBC, Calgary, Lethbridge, Manitoba, Regina, Thompson Rivers, and host Victoria – will be on Vancouver Island for the three-day championship, which kicks off Friday afternoon and concludes Sunday.
As has been the case the last three conference championships, the UBC Thunderbirds head into the event looking to defend their team titles on both the men’s and women’s side. The U SPORTS swimming powerhouse makes the short trek to Victoria having won the last four CW men’s titles, while the T-Bird women are riding an eight-year run atop the conference.
Along with their Canada West crowns a year ago, UBC also earned U SPORTS team gold, reclaiming their spot atop the national podium after Toronto dethroned the ‘Birds two seasons ago.
UBC, which is home to one of Swimming Canada’s five high performance centres, boasts a star-studded roster. As has been the case for years, the T-Birds bring Olympic experience to the pool, with several Canadian veterans of the Rio Olympics on the squad.
On the men’s side, Yuri Kisil and Markus Thormeyer bring Olympic and international experience, while Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson and Emily Overholt also have Olympic experience on their resumes. Also key for UBC will be Ingrid Wilm, who had a remarkable CW championship in 2016 when she set conference records in the 50-metre, 100-metre, and 200-metre backstroke events at Kinsmen Pool in Edmonton.
While UBC is the clear frontrunner in terms of the conference team championships, there will be no shortage of individual competition on display over the weekend.
Five of the eight teams who sent swimmers to last year’s championships in Edmonton earned gold medals, while seven of the eight saw at least one swimmer earn a conference medal.
Along with UBC’s Olympians, Manitoba’s Kelsey Wog is another athlete to watch this weekend. The second-year swimmer enters this season after a standout performance at last year’s CW championships. Wog claimed three conference gold medals in 2016, topping the podium in the women’s 50-metre breaststroke, 100-metre breaststroke, and 100-metre freestyle.
Wog’s times of 30.54 (50-metre breaststroke) and 1:06.30 (100-metre breaststroke) were CW records. In addition to her CW gold medals, Wog also earned conference silver in the 200m breaststroke before going on to capture four U SPORTS medals at the national championships in February.
Overall, last season’s conference championships were particularly impressive, as seven women’s records and four men’s records were broken.
When it comes to host swimmers looking to leave a mark this weekend, Danielle Hanus and Eric Hedlin are among the top Vikes heading into the weekend.
Hanus, who is in her second season with Victoria, is a medal contender in all three backstroke events, while Hedlin is expected to challenge in the freestyle races.
The pair posted strong performances two weeks ago at the Odlum Brown Colleges Cup at UBC, with Hanus finishing second in the 50, 100 and 200-metre backstroke, while Hedlin finished second in the 1500-metre freestyle and third in the 400-metre freestyle.
Click here for the complete 2017 CW Swimming Championships preview, including team previews.
Friday, Nov. 24
Session 1 (heats): 4 – 5 p.m.
Session 2 (finals): 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 25
Session 3 (heats): 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Session 4 (finals): 5 – 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 26
Session 5 (heats): 9 – 11 a.m.
Session 6 (finals): 3 – 5 p.m.
*All events will be streamed live on Canada West TV.