With 15 all-time national titles, the University of Calgary’s swim team has been one of the most successful varsity teams in U of C history. Last season, the Dinos aimed to capture the Canadian Interuniversity Sport crown for a third year in a row but unfortunately finished second in the championships. Their quest for a third-straight title was derailed by the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds who broke the championship points record by scoring 811.5 points as a team.
In January 2013, the U of C will be hosting the CIS championships. The U of C last hosted the event in 2011. Dinos swimmers will look for the home pool to give them the boost they need to get back on top of Canadian swimming.
Head coach Mike Blondal said strong leadership and good training were some of the main factors of the team’s past success.
“Hosting the championship two years ago really helped [the team] focus on winning.”
Blondal had different outlooks for the men’s and women’s teams. “I think we have a good shot to win the men’s,” he said and was slightly less optimistic about the chances of the women’s team of winning the banner.
“We’re a few girls short, I think we’re going to have good performances but team wise it’s going to be a challenge with only 14 girls,” said Blondal. According to Blondal, the women’s team still has a distinct opportunity to win plenty of individual medals and a good shot at the overall podium.
The team has many veterans returning to swim for the Dinos this season, including Jason Block and Julianne Brown. Fresh off an Olympic appearance, Erica Morningstar will also be back swimming with the Dinos, which is certain to give the team a lift.
Block will be gunning for a fourth consecutive gold in the 100 metre breaststroke this season.
“It’s always really exciting to have a home-pool advantage. Everybody watching is going crazy and it’s a really big team thing. It’s definitely fun to have that at home,” said Block.
Brown echoed the sentiments of Blondal and Block regarding hosting the national championships in their home pool this year.
“It was really exciting when it was here two years ago and we had quite a few people come out, but we’re hoping to get more teams come out this year and get more support in the crowd,” said Brown.
It seems that the swim team is set up for another very exciting year in the pool. As they host the championship, they are sure to be locked in a fierce battle with their rivals UBC and the rest of Canada’s swimming powerhouses. The swim team is already busy preparing even though their first test isn’t until the Canada West championships on January 24.