In six seasons of leading the Dinos swimmers, coach Mike Blondal has captured three national titles. Heading into the stretch run of the varsity swimming season, the Dinos are ready to show the rest of the country that they are again a threat, and again a contender. But even with such serious business looming only a few days ahead, their practice was relaxed and full of smiles.
"We're always smiling here," says Blondal. And why not? He and his team have plenty to smile about. Though the Dinos are not as strong of a team as they were last year (losing Olympian Curtis Myden to graduation will do that to you), they are poised and ready to make a splash at the upcoming CIAU swimming championships in Guelph. While the rest of us are trying to live it up one last time before reading week comes to an end the swimmers will fight for gold with Canada's other top swimming programs.
Due to the small size of their team, the Dinos are a long shot for a team title, but that shouldn't stop them from turning heads in Guelph. There are only seven women and 12 men going to the championships but they are ready to compete at the most important CIAU competition this year. The women, led by captain Julia Wright and Canada West Female Swimmer of the Year Carrie Burgoyne will make a strong push in individual competition. The men are also well represented by Josh Ballem, Bo Simpson and Joe Melton.
"It would take a great performance by every athlete we have to win a team championship so that would not be the most realistic goal for us," said coach Blondal. "We will instead focus on doing the best we can as individuals and support each other as a team."
The University of Calgary has a tradition of swimming excellence to uphold and if all goes to plan they will do that and more at nationals.