TORONTO, Ontario, February 22. THE University of Toronto Varsity Blues men defended their national title at home, while the UBC Thunderbirds women three-peated with ease as the 2014 Speedo CIS swimming championships wrapped up Saturday night at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Pool.
The host Blues finished with 690 points, ahead of the Canada West powerhouse T-Birds (609.5) for the second straight year and earn a CIS-leading 18th national banner. UBC won the final 400 medley relay in a time of 3:34.10, but it was too little, too late for the Canada West powerhouses. The Calgary Dinos placed third with 405 points over the three-day meet.
“The comeback on Day 2 was almost historic,” said Byron MacDonald, who was named the CIS men’s team coach of the year. “It was a huge change of fortune. We were able to come up with those extra hundred points, which gave us enough of a comfortable lead. There would have had to been some major upsets for us not to win.”
UBC’s women cruised to their third straight and CIS-leading 19th national title, ending with a combined team score of 802.5 points, 397.5 points ahead of the Montreal Carabins (405), setting the CIS championship record for the largest margin of victory. The Dinos were third with 328 points.
Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson of the T-Birds was named both the CIS female rookie and swimmer of the year. The Ottawa native earned her third individual national title and fifth medal of the meet in the 200 IM (2:09.48).
“I’m incredibly honoured and so excited,” said Seltenreich-Hodgson. “I came in and I knew it was going to be a huge battle for rookie of the year because there are so many talented rookies this year. Overall our team did fantastic today. I’m so proud to be on this team right now – it’s just so exciting.”
Two-time Olympian and Thunderbirds standout Savannah King kicked off the night by earning her fourth-straight 800 freestyle title, while Tera Van Beilen took the top spot in the 50 breaststroke and helped UBC’s 400 medley relay team to a CIS championship record in the final women’s race of the meet.
“The meet didn’t start how she wanted, but Savannah gathered herself on the last day and put that swim up and that lets her know that she’s on track,” said UBC’s Steve Price, honoured as CIS women’s team coach of the year. “The girls really stepped up with the greatest margin of victory in the history of the championship and they definitely took a step forward this weekend. That’s always what we’re looking for.”
Montreal Carabins standout Sandrine Mainville capped off a very successful rookie campaign with her third CIS championship record in as many races. After winning the 50 freestyle on Day 2, Mainville garnered the Sprinter’s Cup as she won the 100 freestyle in a record time of 53.38 seconds. Fellow RSEQ standout Genevieve Cantin of Laval rounded out the record-breaking performances in the 200 backstroke in a time of 2:06.18.
UBC’s Coleman Allen was honoured as the CIS male swimmer of the year. The Barrie, Ont., native anchored UBC’s CIS championship and Canadian record-breaking 800 freestyle relay team on Day 2, while also setting a new championship mark in the 100 butterfly on Thursday night. Allen garnered seven medals over the three-day championship.
“It means a lot,” said Allen. “My roommate Kelly Aspinall was swimmer of the year and I always had that goal in mind coming in this year. Unfortunately, it fell short for the guys, and the team, in getting that national title but I’m really happy I could do my part for the team.
Tristan Cote of the Calgary Dinos was named the CIS male rookie of the year after an outstanding first-place finish in the 1500 freestyle (15:06.02). His teammate Russell Wood completed a sweep in the backstroke with his third gold-medal performance in the 200-metre event (1:54.79), while Bogdan Knezevic was the third Dino to win gold on Day 3 with a win in the 200 IM (1:58.56).
U of T’s Chris Manning and Laval’s Dominique Massey-Martel rounded out the gold-medal finishes in the 50 breaststroke and 100 freestyle, respectively.
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