VICTORIA – In her fourth and final individual event, University of Victoria Vikes women’s swimmer Danielle Hanus finally found gold following three silver medal at the 2018 U SPORTS Swimming Championships at Varsity Pool in Toronto, Ont. Hanus took gold in the 200-m butterfly event and claimed silver earlier in the night in the 100-m backstroke.
Hanus had the most ideal finish in all four of her races as her silver medals in the 50- and 100- backstroke and 100-m breaststroke involved surrendering gold to 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and world champion Kylie Masse of Toronto.
Masse took gold in the women’s 100-m backstroke in a U SPORTS record time of 56.38, while Hanus followed in 58.20 for silver. Hanus broke her own 2016 Vikes record time of 58.90.
“It was a strong performance for Danielle,” said Vikes head coach Peter Vizsolyi. “She has been swimming the standard all year but hasn’t been able to participate much in university events so it was exciting for her to finally get to represent her school and get those performances. Overall, it was pretty hard considering in almost every event she was up against a world champion, Kylie Masse. Even in the fly it’s a lot of underwater kicking but the 200 fly was her event and she took full advantage of that.”
Buzz Mallender finished fifth in the men’s B Final for the 100-m backstroke and was 13th overall in a time of 55.77.
Fourth year Vike Kaitlin Gervais gutted it out in her morning preliminaries to qualify for the A Final of the 400-m freestyle event alongside stand outs Danica Ludlow of Calgary and the UBC trio of Emily Overholt, Maia Brundage and Megan Dalke. Gervais finished eighth in finals in 4:18.79, while Ludlow, Overholt and Brundage swept the podium.
“Making the A Final was definitely a goal for Kaity,” said Vizsolyi about Gervais. “She may be a little disappointed she didn’t go faster at night but she was pretty amazing in her last 50 this morning to get into that A Final so, she should be proud.”
In the men’s 400-m freestyle race the Vikes had two swimmers in the A Final. Defending U SPORTS champion Eric Hedlin finished just off the podium in fourth place (3:49.52), while Josh Zakala was fifth in 3:51.05. Jon McKay was 14th overall in 3:55.90, while Ethan Phillips finished sixth in the C Final to finish 22nd overall in 3:59.92.
“The men struggled a bit today,” commented Vizsolyi. “Josh looked a little tired from the 400 IM yesterday and the guys were caught flat footed a bit in the 400 free. They normally would back end a bit better so they seemed a bit off kilter.”
In the women’s 200-m breaststroke Kara Wilson touched in 2:34.78 to finish 14th overall, while Andrea Farmer, in the C Final, touched in at 2:39.06. On the men’s side, Bailey Espersen was the top 200-m breaststroker finished 10th overall in 2:14.30, while Zachary Dumas was 19th (3:51.05) and Daniel Greer was a spot behind Dumas in 2:18.92.
“Daniel was way better at night today and he really figured it out and came back in his last 50,” said Vizsolyi about the 200-m breaststrokers. “Zach did pretty well, too. He spent time watching video and sort of self-taught himself where he could get faster. He still has lots to learn but had a pretty good performance for him.”
Hanus was finally able to top the podium in the 200-m butterfly as the National Training Centre swimmer finished in 2:08.94 ahead of UDEM’s Sophie Marois (2:09.42) and Alberta’s Georgia Kid (2:11.61). Hanus‘ time nearly broke Vikes alumna MacKenzie Downing’s 2009 record of 2:08.49. Vike Victoria Mock finished in 20th in 2:23.03. On the men’s side Jensen was 20th in 2:04.25.
The women’s 4×200-m freestyle relay was won by UBC in 7:57.88. The Vikes women of Hanus, Gervais, Mock and Taylor Snowden-Richardson had a time of 8:20.28 to finish eighth. The Vikes women remain in fifth in the team standings with 232.5 points, while the dominant T-Birds are on top with 974.5 and hosts Toronto are in second with 694 points.
“Danielle was really solid on the lead out in our relay,” added Vizsolyi. “The girl who won the 200-m freestyle was third or fourth in the lead out and Danielle took advantage of that and got us in the right position. All of the girls swam the relay well.”
The men’s 4×200-m freestyle relay capped off night and the UBC Thunderbirds, dominated by international level talent, took first in an impressive 7:10.07, while Calgary was second in 7:17.69. The Vikes relay team of Zakala, Mallender, Hedlin and Justin Schramm finished sixth in 7:26.01. Following the relays the Vikes sit in seventh overall in the team standing.
“It’s pretty hard when you have people coming out of the 400 events and then into the relay,” described Vizsolyi about the men’s relay. “Josh led off because he has the most speed but was still tired. Eric was not too bad and was looser because they were already behind. He kind of just swam and figured he should just go for it and try to catch people. Buzz was really good on his leg and Justin just came out of the turn for us and was a bit tight.”
Day 3 action of the U SPORTS Swimming Championship continues tomorrow, Feb. 24, at 7:00 a.m. for preliminaries and 12:30 p.m. for the distance women’s 800-m freestyle and men’s 1500-m freestyle. Morning preliminaries will feature the 50-m breaststroke, 200-m backstroke, 100-m freestyle and 200-m individual medleys. Watch the finals on live pay-per-view webcast at usports.live.
Day 2 – UVIC Results
M 50m Butterfly – Ethan Jensen (24th – 25.25)
W 200m Breaststroke – Kara Wilson (14th – 2:34.78), Andrea Farmer (22nd – 2:39.06)
M 200m Breaststroke – Bailey Espersen (10th – 2:14.30), Zachary Dumas (19th – 2:18.32), Daniel Greer (20th – 2:18.92)
Day 1 – UVIC Results
W 50m Backstroke – Danielle Hanus (SILVER – 26.85)*
W 4×100-m Freestyle Relay – Danielle Hanus, Kara Wilson, Taylor Snowden-Richardson, Kaitlin Gervais (9th – 3:52.14)*
M 4×100-m Freestyle Relay – Buzz Mallender, Eric Hedlin, Josh Zakala, Bailey Espersen (9th – 3:24.94)*
*indicates Vikes Record