For the second straight year, the UBC Thunderbirds have won both the men’s and women’s national banners as the 2018 U SPORTS Swimming Championships wrapped up on Saturday night at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Pool.
UBC’s men claimed their third banner in the past four years with 1151.5 points, ahead of the Calgary Dinos (939.5) and host Toronto Varsity Blues (887). The T-Birds women accumulated 1362.5 points to earn their sixth national title in the past seven years, while the Blues (997) and Montreal Carabins (767) finished second and third, respectively.
It marks the 14th time in program history and the fourth time in the last seven years that both squads have garnered national banners in the same year.
“The athletes put in all of the hard work and they make us look really good as coaches,” said UBC head coach Steve Price, who earned U SPORTS Coach of the Year honours on the women’s side, and shared the honour with McGill’s Peter Carpenter for the men’s award.
Honestly, this award is really for the whole coaching staff, the centre coaching staff and my assistant coach - it’s a whole team effort.
2016 Olympians Kylie Masse (Toronto) and Yuri Kisil (UBC) were named the U SPORTS Female and Male Swimmers of the Year for the second consecutive season.
Masse, the 2017 world champion and world record holder in the 100m backstroke, completed the backstroke sweep for the third straight season, winning the 200-metre event in a new U SPORTS record time of 2:02.17 on Day 3. She also teamed up with Rachael Parsons, Hannah Genich and Sarah Polley to set a new Canadian club record in the 4x100m medley relay in 4:00.69.
“It was incredible,” said Masse when asked about the caliber of this year’s U SPORTS Championships. “I don’t know if this has ever happened before in Canadian university history."
To have this many Olympic athletes competing at one championship is really unique. I think it shows a lot to young athletes that Canadian university swimming is an incredible opportunity and that you can succeed here.
Kisil claimed the men’s Sprinter’s Cup as the winner of both the 50m and 100m freestyle races for the second straight year and third time in his career. The Calgary native touched the wall in 47.12 to win the 100-metre gold medal on Saturday night.
“I’m totally stoked with my performances,” said Kisil. “It is such an honour to be recognized for swimming well against such a great field of men, and a lot of my friends too, so it’s been awesome.”
UBC’s Emily Overholt and Calgary’s Frederik Kamminga earned U SPORTS Rookie of the Year honours. A 2016 Olympian, Overholt added to her already-impressive medal haul, claiming the bronze medal in the 200 IM, while Kamminga garnered the men’s 200m breaststroke silver medal on Day 2.
Josh Gold of U of T and Olivia Feschuk of Mount Allison rounded out the major decorations as the U SPORTS Student-Athlete Community Service Award winners.
Day 3 also saw Montreal Carabins standout Sandrine Mainville earn her fourth career women’s Sprinter’s Cup recognition. The 2016 Olympian bettered her own U SPORTS 100m freestyle record in 52.46 seconds to garner her second grand slam recognition of the meet.
Similarly, UBC’s Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson earned the Super Grand Slam, winning her fifth career 200m IM gold medal in 2:09.41.
Fellow Team Canada member Markus Thormeyer rounded out the record-breaking performances on Day 3, breaking his own U SPORTS 200m backstroke mark in 1:52.90. Thormeyer, Kisil, Jonathan Brown and Josiah Binnema also took home gold in the men’s 4x100m medley relay in 3:32.40.
Manitoba’s Kelsey Wog completed the breaststroke sweep, winning the 50-metre event in 30.71 seconds, while UBC’s Warren Meyer successfully defended his men’s title in 27.58 seconds.
A trio of Calgary Dinos rounded out the podium finishes as Robert Hill won the men’s 200m IM in 1:56.97, sophomore standout Peter Brothers swam his way to a gold medal from the afternoon 1500m freestyle heats in a time of 14:55.16 and Danica Ludlow earned her second straight women’s 800m freestyle U SPORTS title in 8:27.48.