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One for two

Dinos men defend Canada West swimming crown, women miss out on title by 15 points

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Dinos swimming head coach Mike Blondal is disappointed with the results over the weekend, but he's not despairing.

The Dinos only came home with one banner from the Canada West swimming championships at the University of Lethbridge after the men successfully defended their title, but the women lost by a narrow 15 points. Blondal looks at the weekend as a learning experience for his team.

"I think the same lesson we learned last year is it's not a math game," he says. "Someone's going to wanna beat you no matter what, so you better be ready when the underdog jumps up, right?"

Katy Murdoch and Jy Lawrence stayed home sick for the Dinos, leaving the team with 14 swimmers to the T-Birds' 18 in the meet. Both Murdoch and Lawrence are expected to be available for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships in three weeks.

"We went in with two kids sick and one kid with a broken arm. Right there we're down 12 swims that score points," Blondal says. "You have to do a lot to overcome that."

The Dinos women finished with 758 points, behind the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds' 773.

"I think it's pretty exciting when the meets are that close because it makes people lift," says Blondal. "UBC girls lifted and our girls didn't, there could be a whole bunch of reasons for it, but it is what it is."

Still, seven of the 10 all-stars on the women's side were Dinos, including Eric Morningstar, who set Canada West records in the 100-metre free and the 100-metre backstroke.

The men significantly outpaced their rivals from UBC, finishing with 764.5 points, a 224.5 point lead over the second-place T-Birds. The Dinos men have won 19 Canada West titles in total and five of the last seven. Eight Dinos men were named all-stars.

The men's team dominated throughout most of the weekend, but was in fifth on the first day of the meet after the team was disqualified in the 4 x 200-metre relay. Last year in the CIS championships, the Dinos botched a relay exchange, giving away key points in what ended up being a close loss to the T-Birds.

"They all know how to do it properly, we just need to take care of it," said Blondal after the meet in a Dinos press release.

For Blondal, the key for the men will be to make sure they aren't over-confident heading into the national championships and he believes because of the loss, the women's team will be stronger and more resilient.

"I think we have a great swim team," he says. "I think that we're going to come home with two banners. That's our goal: two trophies. And if we do that, we've accomplished something that's never been done in our history. That's pretty exciting."

The 2010 CIS swimming championships are Feb. 18-20 in Toronto.

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