Montana Champagne Leads List of Victor Davis Memorial Award Recipients

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Genevieve Sasseville; Photo Courtesy: Swimming Canada/Ian MacNicol

Canadian swimmer Montana Champagne is one of six athletes to be recognized by Swimming Canada as the 2020-21 recipients of the Victor Davis Memorial Award.

Champagne, a native of Ottawa, swims for Greater Ottawa Kingfish Swim Club. The 24-year-old has competed internationally for his country at the 2019 World University Games. He swam at the University of Ottawa and finished second in the men’s 200-meter butterfly at the 2021 Canadian Olympic Trials.

Champagne was connected to the Davis family through the children of one of Davis’s former teammates.

“I actually learned about Victor Davis pretty early because I was friends with the (Tabitha and Ashton Baumann, the children of Davis’s teammate Alex Baumann). So I know his story and their rivalry in different events,” said Champagne. “I know a lot about Victor Davis. He was pretty amazing at this sport so it’s an honour to get that award.”

Victor Davis won gold in the men’s 200 breaststroke at the 1984 Olympics. He died in 1989, the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Montreal at just 25 years old. An organ donor in his passing, the Victor Davis Memorial Fund was established in his memory in 1990, offering annual financial awards to Canadian swimmers who reflect Davis’s value in and out of the pool.

Other recipients of the Victor Davis Memorial Award in 2020-21 are:

Justin Fotherby, KISU Swim Club

Coach: Tina Hoeben; The Penticon, B.C., native reached Olympic Trials this year, finishing sixth place in the men’s 400 individual medley. At 17, he is a hope for the future in that race for the Canadian men.

Alexander Axon, Markham Aquatic Club

Coach: Sean Baker; The Markham, Ont., native posted Canada’s best ever results at the time at the 2018 FINA open water world juniors with a fifth-place finish in the boys five-kilometer race in the 14-15 age group. Axon proved to be training hard in the pool as well in the past years with a number of good performances at the 2020 Canadian Olympic Swimming Trials last month. Axon captured three medals at trials, two of them being silver (800 and 1,500 freestyle).

Ella Jansen, Etobicoke Swim Club

Coach: Robert Novak; A native of Burlington, Ont., Jansen has been breaking open records since she was 14 years old. In 2019, Jansen came second in the 1,500 freestyle at the Canadian Junior Championships. Now 15 years old, Jansen recently placed four in both the 200 butterfly and the 1,500 freestyle at the 2020 Canadian Olympic Swimming Trials last month.

Quinn Matteis, Windsor Aquatic Club

Coach:  Mike McWha; The Chatham, Ont., native won four gold at the Ontario Swimming Championships in March 2020 just as all competitions and events were coming to a stop due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Matteis also won gold in the two-kilometer Ontario open water championships and enjoys both types of swimming. Matteis returned to the pool at the 2020 Canadian Olympic Swimming Trials last month but says he wants to focus on longer distance swimming. His long-term goal is to be on the Olympic Team for the Paris 2024 Games.

Genevieve Sasseville, Chatham Y Pool Sharks

Coach: Don Burton; Out of Chatham, Ont., Sasseville represented Canada at the 2019 World Junior Championships in Budapest, Hungary. She captured two bronze medals as part of the women’s 800 freestyle relay and the 400 medley relay. Now 18 years old, Sasseville competed at the 2020 Canadian Olympic Swimming Trials and came eighth in the 200 butterfly. She looks at the Paris 2024 Games as her best chance at making an Olympic team.

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