The defending U SPORTS men’s and women’s champion UBC Thunderbirds and reigning fellow team medalist, the Toronto Varsity Blues led the way at the recently completed 2021 University Swimming Challenge.

The Thunderbirds and Varsity Blues finished in the top two spots in the final team standings, with UBC coming first in the men’s table, featuring a total of 30 top-three times, followed by Toronto with nine. On the women’s side, Toronto prevailed with 19 top-three finishers to UBC’s 16. The Victoria Vikes women (15) and Dalhousie Tigers men (6), rounded out the top trio for each gender.

“It was an amazing opportunity for the team to get up and race. Our team has been very focused on supporting each other, and being good teammates, and I think that showed in our results,” said second-year Thunderbird Josie Field, who had the top time in the 100m and 200m butterfly events, while also helping UBC finish second in a pair of individual medley relays. “Although it doesn't quite replace the U SPORTS championships, I still had so much fun getting off the blocks and racing again. We saw our hard work pay off with many fantastic swims, which gives us the motivation to push through the rest of this socially-distanced season.”

Eight different women’s programs along with nine men’s teams recorded at least one top-three time in the event. In total, 369 student-athletes from 16 schools across all four conferences took part, registering 1,357 individual and 59 relay races. Other schools participating included Calgary, Ottawa, Acadia, Western, Lethbridge, McGill, Carleton, Waterloo, Thompson Rivers, Laurentian, UNB and Guelph.

The new national virtual competition, held in partnership with Swimming Canada, was organized by member programs from Feb. 27-Apr. 4. All U SPORTS eligible swimmers were able to post times in any of 41 events – including all 38 in the U SPORTS championship program, as well as the 100m individual medley, 4x50m freestyle relay, and the 4x50m individual medley relay.

 “Seeing fast times thrown down around the country this past month despit trying circumstances is remarkable and has every single one of us here edging to get back in the pool and racing again,” said third-year Varsity Blues swimmer Graeme Aylward, who registered top-three times in four events, including the 100m distance in both breastroke and the individual medley, along with two relays. “I am unbelievable proud of the dedication and grit shown by my team and others and the results that prove it.”

All swims were conducted in short course (25m) format, with the best time per swimmer counting in the final rankings. As the event is not considered an official national championship, no major award winners, records or medals will be awarded or recognized. The men’s and women’s leaderboards for all events are available below, with full results posed to swimming.ca.

Men's Standings

School 1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place Total
UBC 15 10 5 30
Toronto 3 3 3 9
Dalhousie 1 2 3 6
Victoria 1 1 3 5
Ottawa 1 1 2 4
Calgary 0 2 2 4
Western 0 2 1 3
Acadia 0 1 2 3
Lethbridge 1 0 1 2

Women's Standings

School 1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place Total
Toronto 10 5 4 19
UBC 4 8 4 16
Victoria 4 4 7 15
Dalhousie 2 4 2 8
McGill 1 1 1 3
Calgary 1 0 1 2
Ottawa 0 0 2 2
Acadia 0 0 1 1