University of Toronto Signs Another Top-Ranked Swimmer; Oliver Straszynski

By Mike Thompson, Swimming World Canadian contributor

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada, October 24. THE #1 ranked 800m freestyler (scm) in Canada in his graduating class, Oliver Straszynski has signed a letter of intent to attend the engineering program at the University of Toronto and swim for the Varsity Blues starting the Fall of 2014. This marks the second top signing in a week as #1 ranked backstroker Kyle Haas also signed a letter of intent for The University of Toronto last week.

“Ollie is a bona-fide blue chip athlete and we are very pleased to have him coming to U of T,” said head coach Byron MacDonald. “I have watched his progress daily because his club team trains in our pool. He is on a great trajectory; The National team is the direction Ollie is heading in.”

Straszynski was on the recent Canada Games team for Ontario (winning a pair of gold medals); and also a member of the Open Water Junior Worlds. As well, he won several gold medals at the North American Age Group Challenge Cup in his early teens. He has represented the Toronto Swim Club for many years and swam for former TSC head coach, Alex Wallingford until Wallingford’s departure this season.

Straszynski will be a valuable asset for the The U of T Varsity Blues, who are the defending national CIS men’s champions. He is part of a significant group of athletes that have decided to stay in Canada rather than head south of the border to the NCAA. This group of athletes will add some very significant depth to the CIS Championship meet.

Oliver’s SCM times for the 200 free (1:49.69) and 400 free (3:56.25) would have placed him in the top 8 last season and his 1500 free time would have placed him ninth. An encouraging aspect for MacDonald is that Straszynski is still improving, making significant jumps this past summer during the long course season.

Oliver’s genetics may have played a part in his swimming prowess as his mother, Anne Posno, was a national team member from London Ontario in the 1980’s–winning the 800m freestyle at the 1984 Summer Nationals and swimming for Canada at the 1985 FISU Universiade in Japan.

“I think it is really exciting that more athletes are attracted to U of T and want to be a part of what we have built here in Toronto,” said MacDonald. “We have been at it for a long time.”

MacDonald has placed more than 75 swimmers on national teams and at least one swimmer on every Olympic team for the past 30 years, including an Olympic medalist in 1992.

Mike Thompson, a Swimming World contributor from Canada, is the senior sprint coach at the vaunted Oakville Aquatic Club in Canada. He also hosts the Coach Mike Podcast, that includes interviews with some of the top Canadian talent.

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