T-Birds Women claim Canada West Swimming Championship, Men capture silver –


LETHBRIDGE, Alta. Through three days of exciting racing the UBC Thunderbirds Women’s team captured the Canada West Women’s Swimming Championships, raising their 12th title over the last 13 years while the T-Birds men’s team narrowly missed out on a ninth consecutive banner and claimed the silver medal after being edged by the Calgary Dinos.

“I’m so proud of both our women’s and men’s teams, said UBC head coach Derrick Schoof, who was also named Women’s Coach of the Year. “The women showed just how strong they are from sweeping the 800 free in the first event and winning the 4×100 medley relay at the end to cap off an excellent competition. The men were equally as impressive, however, I have to give credit to U of C men who have an incredibly deep roster and competed very well.”
 

Living up to it’s expectations was going to be a challenge for day three of the 2022 Canada West Swim Championships, and did it ever deliver.

Fans arrived at the Max Bell Aquatic Center on Sunday morning with a sense of anticipation for what the day was going to bring. A battle at the top of both genders in the team points category between the UBC Thunderbirds and the University of Calgary Dinos was top of mind, but also were the individual performances expected.

The afternoon started off on the right foot with women’s 200 meter final, which saw the pacific schools of UBC and University of Victoria take the podium. Josie Field of the Thunderbirds struck gold with a time of 2:11.71, while rookie Yasmin Perry chased her down towards the end. Perry just didn’t have quite enough clocking a time of 2:12.93. Lora Willar of the Thunderbirds took home 3rd spot with a time of 2:18.57 and sent the meet off and running.

On the men’s side of the 200 meter final, Padric Mckervill of the Victoria Vikes paced the top 3 swimmers who were all within 2 seconds of each other, Mckervill finished with a time of 1:59.36. A combination of Golden Bears and Dinos rounded out the podium with Diego Paz beating his neighbour to the south, Thomas Mcdonald with a time of 2:00.81.

2022 Canada West Swimming Championship Lethbridge

The women’s 100 meter freestyle was again dominated by Dino Rebecca Smith who dove in and came up with a lead, and didn’t look back. Smith’s time of 53.88 was almost 2 seconds better than Emma O’Croinin from the Thunderbirds who finished in silver position. Graduating athlete Avery Movold joined the duo on the podium with a time of 56.08 to take the bronze.

Stephen Calkins from the Dinos impressed on the men’s side of the 100 meter freestyle where he improved by 2.56 seconds from his preliminary time; Calkins would cruise to a gold medal while the Thunderbird duo of Blake Tierney & Canek Bracho took home the silver and bronze medal respectively. The trio all finished under 50 seconds, with Calkins taking a time of 47.71, Tierney at 48.70 & Bracho at 49.41.

As the afternoon continued on, it seemed as though the atmosphere in the Max Bell Aquatic Center began to tighten up. It may have been influenced by the Women’s 100 meter backstroke, which became one of the tightest contested races of the day. Hannah Johnsen of the Calgary Dinos, Lauren Crisp of the Victoria Vikes, and Megan Mozill of the Manitoba Bisons all topped the podium within a second of each of other. Johnsen with a time of 1:00.21, with Crisp & Mozill hitting the wall at 1:01.01 & 1:01.06 respectively.

The 100 meter men’s backstroke saw the first podium of the day for the host Lethbridge Pronghorns, with Chris Alexander continuing his impressive meet and earning a silver medal behind Blake Tierney of the UBC Thunderbirds and ahead of Hugh McNeill of those same uniforms. Alexander ended up dropping 1.45 seconds off of his prelim time.

2022 Canada West Swimming Championship Lethbridge

The walk out moment in the A-Final of the 200 meter men’s breaststroke was a sight to see, as the host announcer played a competitive classic in ACDC Thunderstruck. Those in attendance could feel the extra emotion in the building as 2021 Rookie and Swimmer of the Meet, Apollo Hess defended his gold medal.

Similarly to Rebecca Smith, Hess dove in and came up with an early lead; he wouldn’t look back,…



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