Varsity Blues swim their way to repeat OUA championship

Photo by Western Mustangs
Photo by Western Mustangs

LONDON, Ont. – For the fifth straight year the Varsity Blues swept the OUA Swimming Championships, taking both the men's and women's banners on Saturday evening at the Western Student Recreation Centre.

The win is the 15th straight for the men, and the fifth consecutive for the women. Toronto now has a combined 93 OUA Banners, and continues to lead the province with 65 on the men's side and 28 on the women's. The Varsity Blues took the top spot this year with 923 points in the men's competition and 1,030 in the women's.

"The OUA championships in swimming is a very special event and is a highlight of many of our swimmers careers," said Varsity Blues head coach Byron MacDonald. "We always strive to do very well at this meet and this is one of the better ones we've ever had. It was a sensational swim by all of the athletes on our team."

In addition to yet another championship victory, the women's team also walked out of Western's Student Recreation Centre as the new OUA record holders in the 200 metre medley relay. Toronto swimmers previously set the old record in 2016, but managed to improve upon the time by 0.01 seconds. 

The Western Mustangs came in behind the Varsity Blues in both the men's and women's competition, while McMaster earned bronze on the women's side and Ottawa claimed third place on the men's.

Western's men's team finished with 748.5 total points after adding another nine podium finishes on the final day of competition. Three came from the women's team, while the men earned six to secure their second-place finish.

McMaster came in third on the women's side after one of their strongest days of competition. Six podium finishes helped bring their point total to 484.5.

Olivvya Chow continued her strong performance to win the only Marauder gold of the day and set an OUA record along with it. She finished the 50m breaststroke in 31.26, erasing the record she set in the preliminaries.

She also came second in the 200m IM (2:18.52), while helping her team to a silver medal in the 400m medley relay (4:12.52).

Ottawa placed third in the men's competition, finishing with 165.5 points after seeing another three podium finishes.

Two came from the 200m IM that saw the Gee-Gees take the top two spots, with one more coming from the 100m freestyle. Montana Champagne won the 200m IM after finishing the race in 1:59.85, with teammate James Cormier coming in second in 2:02.08.

Davide Casarin earned the final Gee-Gees medal of the day, taking second in the 100m freestyle (49.70).

The Varsity Blues cleaned up at the awards presentation as well, with two grand slam awards, the women's swimmer of the year, and four graduating athlete awards of distinction.

Masse earned two Grand Slams this year in the 50m backstroke and the 100m backstroke, in addition to being named the OUA Female Swimmer of the Year. Eli Wall was the second Varsity Blue to earn a Grand Slam – awarded to athletes who have won four gold medals within a single event during their OUA career – after taking first in the 200m backstroke.  

Toronto's Hannah Genich was the female recipient of the Jeno Tihanyi Award for IM Excellence, alongside Montana Champagne of the Ottawa Gee-Gees.

Ottawa's second award of the evening came from Jacob Issac's Rookie of the Year nod, with McMaster's Isabelle Lei taking the title on the women's side. Meanwhile, fellow Gee-Gee Davide Casarin was named Male Swimmer of the Year.

Eight swimmers were also presented with the Graduating Athlete Award of Distinction, with McMaster's Chow, Waterloo's Jonathan Ramkissoon, Western's Gamal Assaad and Alex Paulins, and Toronto's Kyle Haas, Dan Kuiack, Eli Wall, and Hochan Ryu all being honoured.

Toronto's final award of the evening went to head coach Byron MacDonald, who was named OUA Women's Coach of the Year. Dave Heinbuch of the Ottawa Gee-Gees received the award on the men's side.

OUA Swimmers will have just under two weeks until they're back in the pool competing, as the U SPORTS Championships are just around the corner. The national championship will kick off on February 22 and run until February 24 at Toronto's Varsity Pool.

TEAM STANDINGS 

Women's

1. Toronto (1030)

2. Western (582)

3. McMaster (484.5)

4. Ottawa (431)

5. Guelph (346)

6. Waterloo (313)

7. Laurentian (229)

8. Laurier (157)

9. Queen's (111)

10. York (107)

11. Brock (83.5)

12. Carleton (56)


Men's

1. Toronto (932)

2. Western (748.5)

3. Ottawa (487)

4. Guelph (346)

5. Waterloo (342)

6. McMaster (272.5)

7. Laurentian (234)

8. Queen's (175)

9. Laurier (139)

10. Brock (113)

11. Carleton (62)

12. York (58)
 
INDIVIDUAL HONOURS
 
Women's
 
Swimmer of the Year: Kylie Masse, Toronto
Rookie of the Year: Isabelle Lei, McMaster
Coach of the Year: Byron McDonald, Toronto
Dr. Jeno Tihanyi Award for IM Excellence: Hannah Genich, Toronto
Graduating Athlete Award of Distinction: Olivvya Chow, McMaster

 
Men's
 
Swimmer of Year:  Davide Casarin, Ottawa
Rookie of the Year: Jacob Issac, Ottawa
Coach of the Year: Dave Heinbuch, Ottawa
Dr. Jeno Tihanyi Award for IM Excellence: Montana Champagne, Ottawa
Graduating Athlete Award of Distinction:  Jonathan Ramkissoon (Waterloo), Gamal Assaad (Western), Alex Paulins (Western) Kyle Haas (Toronto), Dan Kuiack (Toronto), Eli Wall (Toronto), and Hochan Ryu (Toronto).

Day Three Results: 
 
Women 200m Medley Relay
Gold: Toronto: 1:50.38
(Kylie Masse, Rachael Parsons, Rachel Rode, Emily Russell)

Silver: McMaster: 1:55.15
(Hannah Dvorski, Olivvya Chow, Cailyn Eley, Sarah Little)

Bronze: Western: 1:55.62
(Jessica Allen, Joan-Shiao Chen, Hayley Hess, Lexi Meklensek)
 
Men 200m Medley Relay
Gold: Toronto: 1:39.78
(Kyle Haas, Eli Wall, Cameron Kidd, Dan Kuiack)

Silver: Waterloo: 1:41.23
(Leon Ouyang, Jonathan Ramkissoon, Aidan Chow, Alex Loljko)

Bronze: Western: 1:41.38
(Matthew Klahsen, Matthew Loewen, Nathan Lethbridge, Brent Waddell)
 
Women 800m Free
Gold: Sophia Saroukian (Toronto): 8:48.19
Silver: Delphine Vandal (Ottawa): 8:52.11
Bronze: Carleen Ginter (McMaster): 8:55.92
 
Women 50m Breast
Gold: Olivvya Chow (Ottawa): 31.26
Silver: Rachael Parsons (Toronto): 31.88
Bronze: Samantha Anderson (Guelph): 33.50
 
Men 50m Breast
Gold: Matthew Loewen (Western): 27.65
Silver: Eli Wall (Toronto): 27.91
Bronze: Jon Ramkissoon (Waterloo): 28.00
 
Women 200m Back
Gold: Sarah Polley (Toronto): 2:11.05
Silver: Veronica Nichol (McMaster): 2:13.01
Bronze: Eloise Ladyman (Waterloo): 2:13.04
 
Men 200m Back
Gold: Matthew Mac (Toronto): 1:58.18
Silver: Hochan Ryu (Toronto): 2:00.69
Bronze: Matthew Klahsen (Western): 2:01.25
 
Women 100m Free 
Gold: Charis Huddle (Western): 54.50
Silver: Isabelle Lei (McMaster): 55.13
Bronze: Rachel Rode (Toronto): 55.83
 
Men 100m Free 
Gold: Mitch Ferraro (Toronto): 49.66
Silver: Davide Casarin (Ottawa): 49.70
Bronze: Matthew Schouten (Laurentian): 49.81 
 
Men 1500m Free 
Gold: Mitch Muizelaar (McMaster): 15:21.93 
Silver: Alex Paulins (Western): 15:45.51
Bronze: Sebastian Paulins (Western): 15.45.66
 
Women 200m Individual Medley 
Gold: Hannah Genich (Toronto): 2:13.48 
Silver: Olivvya Chow (McMaster): 2:18.52
Bronze: Cino Ling (Toronto): 2:19.35
 
Men 200m Individual Medley
Gold: Montana Champagne (Ottawa): 1:59.85
Silver: James Cormier (Ottawa): 2:02.08
Bronze: Eli Wall (Toronto): 2:02.67 
 
Women 400m Free Relay 
Gold: Toronto: 3:45.69 
(Sarah Polley, Victoria Radounski, Emily Russell, Olivia Sbaraglia)
 
Silver: Western: 3:46.87
(Rachel Sawchuk, Keira Brazeau, Charis Huddle, Katarina Kranjc)
 
Bronze: McMaster: 3:47.95
(Veronica Nichol, Mianchen wang, Hannah Dvorski, Isabelle Lei)   
 
Men 400m Free Relay
Gold: Toronto: 3:21.28
(Cameron Kidd, Simon Meier, Alex Magnan, Mitch Ferraro)
 
Silver: Western: 3:23.06
(Gamal Assaad, Brent Waddell, Matthew Loewen, Andrew Siu)
 
Bronze: Guelph: 3:25.10
(Daniel Reardon, Philip Vranic, Simon Paisley, Daniel Barros)