OTTAWA (CIS) – The University of Calgary Dinos hope home field will be an advantage later this week when they try to defend both Canadian Interuniversity Sport swimming titles for the first time in school history.
The three-day CIS meet, which will feature five Olympians including Canada’s lone Olympic medalist of the past decade in swimming, gets under way on Thursday at the U of C Aquatic Centre with preliminaries starting at 10 a.m. Mountain Time and finals at 6 p.m. MT every day.
The event also kicks off the CIS winter championship season.
Championship website (live results for all sessions and video webcast of finals): http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/swim
A year ago in Toronto, the Dinos swept the CIS women’s and men’s team banners for the very first time. It marked a second straight triumph – and the second in history - for the U of C women, while the men were crowned for the second time in three years.
As was the case in 2010 when they finished second to archrival UBC in women’s competition at the Canada West championships before prevailing on the national stage, the Dinos will have their work cut out for them as they hope to maintain their CIS supremacy. UBC travels to Calgary as double conference champion after capturing both Canada West banners at home three weeks ago in Vancouver.
“Last year we had trouble at Canada West as well and we were able to come through, which we’ll hope to do again,” says Calgary head coach Mike Blondal, whose women’s team finished 15 points behind UBC at this year’s Canada West meet, the exact same margin as in 2010. “It’s going to be packed – the pool is going to be full. It’s exciting – I’ve had to settle the kids down a little because usually we’d be in a hotel by now, so they’re going to have to manage themselves in a different way. But it’s going to be great.”
“Our women’s team was great. They battled right until the last event,” said UBC head coach Chad Webb following the Canada West championships. “They showed a lot of heart and determination like we have all season and that just stems from the hard work they put in every day at the pool.”
While Blondal figures this week’s women’s race should once again be a two-team affair between the Dinos and Thunderbirds, he expects a wide open competition on the men’s side.
“Looking through the results and the rankings you see the rise of the University of Toronto as a strong player, Western is looking much stronger... so you’re going to see a shift in how the scoring goes. It’s going to be spread out more evenly, and the total scores for the winning teams will be lower. It’s going to be a three-day game. It’s happened many times where they team titles come down to the last relay, and that could happen again. It’s the best meet – it’s nerve-racking sometimes, but it’s the best meet.”
“We have to win medals, plain and simple,” said Blondal on going into the CIS meet with a smaller men’s delegation. “We don’t have a big team, but it’s a strong team. We need to win medals and we need to win relays, and we can’t afford to mess up.”
“The Thunderbirds do come in with momentum. On the men’s side they’re pretty strong with three kids coming off a redshirt year, and their women swam very, very well at the Canada West meet. The field here is a lot deeper, so it’s going to be more challenging for them to score points – for them, just like us.”
Highlighting the Calgary lineup for the third season is 2008 Olympian Erica Morningstar.
The Regina native was named female swimmer of the meet at the Canada West championships after she claimed six gold medals and one silver in seven events, while shattering a pair of championship records in the process. The former CIS rookie of the year is undefeated in 14 races in two previous appearances at the CIS meet and holds seven national championship marks, including individual records in the 200-metre medley and the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle.
“I think she can do it again, but she’s got some tough swimmers to compete against,” says Blondal. “The breaststroke field is getting stronger, and I think she and (teammate) Fiona Doyle can go 1-2 – and it doesn’t really matter which way they position themselves. But Erica could definitely win four individual gold medals again.”
Morningstar will be one of four Olympians competing in the U of C pool this week along with University of Victoria teammates Ryan Cochrane and Stephanie Horner, who also represented Canada in 2008, and University of Toronto’s Luke Hall, who swam for his native Swaziland in Beijing.
Cochrane, a 22-year-old from Victoria, won a bronze medal in the 1500 freestyle in Beijing, marking the first podium for a Canadian swimmer at the Olympics since 2000. He also won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, in the 400 and 1500 free races.
Also of note, McGill’s Valérie Grand’Maison, a freestyle specialist, was Canada’s most decorated athlete at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, with three gold medals, a pair of silvers and one bronze. The third-year junior from Fleurimont, Que., who began losing her eyesight at age 12 due to macular degeneration, currently holds world records in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 freestyle events, plus the 400 IM.
“We’ve had very good quality at the CIS level for years with swimmers like Annamay Pierse, Curtis Myden, Brian Johns and Mike Brown at the meet, and this will be the same. It’s a high standard competition,” says Blondal.
At the other regional association championships held earlier this month, the Dalhousie Tigers resumed their domination in the AUS capturing their 13th straight men’s banner and their 10th consecutive women’s title. In Quebec, the Laval Rouge et Or men were crowned for the fourth year in a row while the Montreal Carabins women reached the top of the podium for the second straight season. Meanwhile in the OUA, the Toronto Varsity Blues men triumphed for the eighth consecutive campaign and the Western Ontario Mustangs women for the third year in a row.
In addition to Morningstar, conference swimmers of the year included Calgary teammate David Dimitrov as the Canada West male MVP, Dalhousie teammates Ceilidh MacPherson and David Sharpe in the AUS, Montreal’s Sarah-Lee Hevey and McGill’s Steven Bielby in Quebec, and Toronto’s Andrea Jurenovskis and Ottawa’s Matt Hawes in the OUA.
Toronto took second place in the men’s standings at last year’s CIS championships, marking the first time since 1995 (Toronto – second) a team other than Calgary or UBC finished in the top two on the men’s side. The Varsity Blues are once again a threat this season despite the loss of 2008 Olympian Colin Russell, who graduated last spring after claiming back-to-back CIS male swimmer of the year awards.
Third-year junior Zack Chetrat took over at the 2011 OUA championships setting three individual meet marks and anchoring a record-breaking relay. The native of Oakville, Ont., is defending CIS champion in the 400 free and in the 100 and 200 butterfly, as well as in the 4 x 100 medley relay.
NOTE: As is the case every Universiade year, the CIS championships will serve as a selection event for the World University Games. All individual gold medalists at this week’s CIS meet will automatically earn an invitation to represent Canada in August at the 2011 Summer Universiade in Shenzhen, China.
2011 CIS SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE (Heats 10 a.m. MT / Finals 6 p.m. MT)
Thursday, Feb. 24 (order of finals)
#1 Women’s 200m Free
#2 Men’s 200m Free
#3 W 50m Back
#4 M 50m Back
#5 W 100m Breast
#6 M 100m Breast
#7 W 100m Fly
#8 M 100m Fly
#9 W 400m IM
#10 M 400m IM
#11 W 4 x 100m Free Relay
#12 M 4 x 100m Free Relay
Friday, Feb. 25 (order of finals)
#13 W 100m Back
#14 M 100m Back
#15 W 50m Fly
#16 M 50m Fly
#17 W 400m Free
#18 M 400m Free
#19 W 200m Breast
#20 M 200m Breast
#21 W 50m Free
#22 M 50m Free
#23 W 200m Fly
#24 M 200m Fly
#25 W 4 x 200m Free Relay
#26 M 4 x 200m Free Relay
Saturday, Feb. 26 (order of finals)
#27 W 800m Free
#28 M 50m Breast
#29 W 50m Breast
#30 M 200m Back
#31 W 200m Back
#32 M 100m Free
#33 W 100m Free
#34 M 200m IM
#35 W 200m IM
#36 M 1500m Free
#37 W 4 x 100m Medley Relay
#38 M 4 x 100m Medley Relay
PAST CIS TEAM CHAMPIONS
- Calgary won the first two women’s titles in program history in 2009 and 2010 after finishing second to UBC eight straight years;
- UBC, runner up each of the past two years, had won the previous 11 titles and 14 of the previous 15;
- Toronto is the last team other than UBC and Calgary to win the women’s title (1997);
- Most CIS titles since 1971 (inaugural CIS women’s championship): UBC (16), Toronto (14).
- Defending champion Calgary has won two of the last three men’s titles (2010, 2008) while UBC was crowned in 2009, when the Dinos finished second;
- UBC had won 10 straight titles from 1998 to 2007, with Calgary finishing second each year;
- Before UBC’s 10-year run, Calgary had won 3 straight titles from 1995 to 1997;
- Toronto is the last team other than UBC and Calgary to win the men’s title (1994);
- Most CIS titles since 1965 (inaugural CIS men’s championship): Toronto (16), Calgary (14), UBC (12).
PAST CIS SWIMMERS OF THE YEAR (last 10 years)
2009-10 Martha McCabe, UBC
2008-09 Annamay Pierse, UBC
2007-08 Annamay Pierse, UBC
2006-07 Erin Gammel, Calgary
2005-06 Kelly Stefanyshyn, UBC
2004-05 Jennifer Carroll, UQTR
2003-04 Erin Gammel, Calgary
2002-03 Liz Warden, Toronto
2001-02 Liz Warden, Toronto
2000-01 Sophie Simard, Laval
1999-00 Jessica Deglau, UBC
2009-10 Colin Russell, Toronto
2008-09 Colin Russell, Toronto
2007-08 Callum Ng, UBC
2006-07 Brian Johns, UBC
2005-06 Callum Ng, UBC
2004-05 Scott Dickens, UBC
2003-04 Chad Murray, Calgary
2002-03 Brian Johns, UBC
2001-02 Brian Johns, UBC
2000-01 Rick Say, Calgary
1999-00 Bob Hayes, Toronto
1998-99 Curtis Myden, Calgary
CIS CHAMPIONSHIP RECORDS
50m Freestyle: Erica Morningstar, Calgary, 2009, 25.17
100m Freestyle: Erica Morningstar, Calgary, 2009, 54.03
200m Freestyle: Erica Morningstar, Calgary, 2009, 1:56.11
400m Freestyle: Carla Geurts, UNB, 2002, 4:07.60
800m Freestyle: Carla Geurts, UNB, 2003, 8:30.39
50m Backstroke: Hanna Kubas, Calgary, 2009, 27.48
100m Backstroke: Katy Murdoch, Calgary, 2009, 58.67
200m Backstroke: Katy Murdoch, Calgary, 2009, 2:06.81
50m Breaststroke: Annamay Pierse, UBC, 2009, 30.71
100m Breaststroke: Annamay Pierse, UBC, 2009, 1:05.16
200m Breaststroke: Annamay Pierse, UBC, 2009, 2:18.59
50m Butterfly: Jennifer Carroll, UQTR, 2009, 26.87
100m Butterfly: MacKenzie Downing, Victoria, 2008, 59.31
200m Butterfly: Audrey Lacroix, Montreal, 2007, 2:08.69
200m Individual Medley: Erica Morningstar, Calgary, 2009, 2:09.12
400m Individual Medley: Liz Warden, Toronto, 2003, 4:38.21
4x100m Medley Relay: Calgary, 2010, 4:03.28
(Katy Murdoch, Allison Long, Seanna Mitchell, Erica Morningstar)
4x100m Freestyle Relay: Calgary, 2009, 3:38.74
(Erica Morningstar, Katy Murdoch, Seanna Mitchell, Breanna Hendriks)
4x200m Freestyle Relay: Calgary, 2009, 7:55.91
(Katy Murdoch, Breanna Hendriks, Kevyn Peterson, Erica Morningstar)
50m Freestyle: Colin Russell, Toronto, 2010, 21.73
100m Freestyle: Colin Russell, Toronto, 2009, 47.23
200m Freestyle: Colin Russell, Toronto, 2009, 1:43.31
400m Freestyle: Rick Say, Calgary, 2001, 3:43.91
1500m Freestyle: Turlough O’Hare, UBC, 1992, 14:52.32
50m Backstroke: Chris Renaud, Calgary, 1997, 24.25
100m Backstroke: Callum Ng, UBC, 2009, 52.24
200m Backstroke: Chris Renaud, Calgary, 1997, 1:54.68
50m Breaststroke: Scott Dickens, UBC, 2009, 27.53
100m Breaststroke: Scott Dickens, UBC, 2009, 59.34
200m Breaststroke: Mike Brown, Calgary, 2009, 2:07.58
50m Butterfly: Kelly Aspinall, Calgary, 2009, 23.60
100m Butterfly: Tom Ponting, Calgary, 1989, 52.62
200m Butterfly: Brian Johns, UBC, 2003, 1:54.76
200m Individual Medley: Keith Beavers, Waterloo, 2009, 1:55.98
400m Individual Medley: Brian Johns, UBC, 2003, 4:02.72
4x100m Medley Relay: UBC, 2009, 3:33.04
(Callum Ng, Scott Dickens, Rory Biskupski, Tommy Gossland)
4x100m Freestyle Relay: UBC, 2009, 3:15.42
(Scott Dickens, Rory Biskupski, Callum Ng, Tommy Gossland)
4x200m Freestyle Relay: UBC, 2003, 7:10.95
(Brian Johns, Mark Johnston, Brent Hayden, Justin Tisdall)
Source: CIS Communications