The University of Calgary Aquatic Centre was abuzz with activity from Jan. 23–25 as the Dinos swim team hosted the Canada West championships. Both the Dinos men’s and women’s teams finished second behind the perennially strong University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.
On their way to a resounding win and fifth consecutive title, the Thunderbirds women set a new Canada West record by scoring 1,071 points, almost doubling the second place Dinos who managed to collect 574 points. The men’s competition featured a closer battle but the Thunderbirds still claimed a decisive victory, beating the Dinos 941 to 755.
The weekend’s most impressive individual performer for the Dinos was Russell Wood, who took home four gold medals. Wood swept the backstroke events, posting a Canada West record time in the 200-metre distance. The Calgary native also won the 200-metre individual medley and picked up silver in each of the three relay events.
Dinos head coach Mike Blondal had some mixed feelings towards the results of the competition.
“It’s always a tough meet at Canada West and UBC swam very well — they beat us quite soundly. It’s nice to come second, but it would be better to be first or at least to be closer to UBC than we were,” said Blondal.
Among the numerous individual swimmers that Blondal singled out for their performances were fifth-year David Woodman and third-year Lindsay Delmar. Delmar and Woodman both finished with six medals.
“I’m satisfied with where I am at at the moment and I’m just hoping that three weeks from now when we have our national championships that I’ll be able to lift from these times here,” said Delmar.
Woodman was also satisfied with his performance at the meet.
“It was good. I swam a couple of seasonal bests, so I think it has been a pretty solid meet,” said Woodman on his weekend.
With the Canada West meet in the books, the focus now shifts to the most important event of the year for the Dinos: the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Championships. The University of Toronto will host this year’s edition, being held from Feb. 20–22.
Blondal will be looking for some substantial improvements from his swimmers in order to better compete with UBC, adding that the short time between meets will be crucial for the squad.
“We either have a bit more work to do or we need a bit more rest, one of the two,” said Blondal. “We have to do an evaluation over the next couple days to figure out what we’re going to do in the next three weeks and get ourselves ready to go.”
Delmar won two gold medals in last year’s national championships, one individual in the 200-metre freestyle and one with the 4x100-metre freestyle relay. No doubt looking to improve on last season’s performances, Delmar feels that this past weekend will help with that goal.
“Personally I think it just gives me some confidence to know where I’m at, that I’m hitting decent in-season times and that I know with some rest going into nationals I’ll be able to drop some more time,” said Delmar.
Despite the mixed results of this past weekend Blondal remains confident in his team’s ability to perform at the biggest stage of the season.
“Everyone gets up for nationals no matter what, so it will be really good.”