The University of Calgary swim team is heading to another Canadian Interuniversity Sport final this year. In order to reclaim their national banners, the Dinos will start their postseason in the Canada West championships.
This season, there is an added importance to qualifying for the CIS championships because they are being held at the U of C aquatic centre on Feb. 21–23.
Entering the CW championships, the Dinos are favourites to contend for a national title. The Dinos’s men’s swimmers are ranked fifth in the nation and the women are ranked third.
However, the U of C will have a tough time against the perennial powerhouses, the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. UBC is currently ranked number one in the CIS in women’s swimming and the men’s squad is ranked third in the nation. UBC is also the defending CIS champion in both men’s and women’s swimming and last year swept every single individual MVP award as well.
The UBC swim program is used to success at the CIS level as the Thunderbirds women’s team captured a record of 11-straight national titles from 1998 to 2008. The UBC men’s swimming team also set a record with 10-straight titles from 1998 to 2007.
The Dinos have plenty of star power to counter the Thunderbirds. An already powerful roster, the women will receive a boost with the return of fourth-year veteran and 2012 Olympian Erica Morningstar after missing a year to train for the Olympics.
The Dinos also boast a former 50-metre world-record holder and Olympian from the 2012 Olympics, Amanda Reason. In her sophomore year at the U of C, Reason will be looking to defend her 50-metre CIS title from 2012.
The men’s squad will be led by last season’s two-time CIS gold medalist and fifth-year swimmer Jason Block. Block won CIS gold last year in the 50-metre breaststroke.
The Dinos were crowned as national champions in back-to-back seasons from 2009–11 and the Dinos captured the CIS title at home in 2010–11. In the 2012 edition of the CIS championships, the Dinos were able to take home 25 medals in total.
In order to qualify for the CIS championships, each athlete must qualify individually in each event during the CW finals. The CW championships take place from Jan. 24–26 at the University of Victoria Vike’s pool.