A Canadian club record and five more meet records fell on Day 2 of the 2019 U SPORTS Odlum Brown Swimming Championships at the UBC Aquatic Centre in Vancouver. The UBC Thunderbirds continue to top the women’s standings and the Calgary Dinos hold a slim lead over UBC for first on the men’s side.
The T-Bird women held steady with 891 points after Day 2, but will need to fend off the surging Toronto Varsity Blues (815) to extend their title streak to three. The Montreal Carabins are in third (475), the Calgary Dinos in fourth (367) and the Victoria Vikes sit in fifth (206).
“They’re swimming their lights out, they’re just giving it everything they’ve got,” said UBC head coach, and reigning U SPORTS Coach of the Year, Steve Price. “It’s a great battle, they know what’s up, we just can’t ask for anything more. The contribution from the entire team...our rookies are stepping up right through our veterans who are taking the lead. You need to have everyone contribute if you have a chance to go for the titles.”
The Dinos (656 points) saw their lead over the Thunderbirds (633) narrow to just 23 points in the men’s standings heading into the final day of competition, while the Toronto Varsity Blues are in third (500). McGill (431) holds the fourth spot and the Regina Cougars moved up into fifth (339).
“The efforts are done in the mornings, you have to get into a scoring position and I think our boys stepped up and swam tough tonight,” said Calgary head coach Mike Blondal. “They stepped up in events that they needed to and finished off very strong. All in all, I’m pretty pleased. Tomorrow’s going to be a tough day, it could come down to the relay and if it does...wow, it’s like the last two minutes of a hockey game - a nail-biter but a good time.”
Former world champion Kylie Masse won her fourth straight gold medal in the 50m backstroke to complete the Grand Slam with a time of 27.94. Victoria’s Danielle Hanus claimed silver (28.78) and UBC’s Ingrid Wilm took home bronze (28.81).
Toronto rookie Rebecca Smith won gold in the 50m butterfly (26.84), ahead of Masse (27.18), before the women joined forces to set a Canadian club and U SPORTS record in the 4x200m freestyle relay (8:07.20).
“My suit ripped before my race so that definitely got my adrenaline pumping and my teammates helped me out. It was so much fun just to have support like that,” said Smith. “We’re just all so close, we were behind at the start but it was a super exciting win – especially to get the Canadian record as well.”
UBC’s Emily Overholt set her third and fourth U SPORTS records of the meet in dominant fashion. The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist took gold in the 200m freestyle (1:57.26), over three seconds faster than the previous record, and bested the 400m individual medley mark by nearly four seconds (4:40.95).
‘Birds standout Markus Thormeyer defended his men’s 200m freestyle medal by setting his third U SPORTS record of the event with a winning time of 1:48.02. The UBC relay team also set a new U SPORTS record in the 4x200m freestyle in 7:27.78, a race that saw Calgary earn silver (7:36.01), and McGill (7:39.35) snatch the bronze from Victoria (7:39.39) in a thrilling finish.
Josiah Binnema topped the podium in the men’s 50m butterfly (24.52) and T-Bird teammate Alexander Pratt secured bronze in the 200m freestyle (1:51.41). Rookie T-Bird Ruishen Yu earned his first medal with a bronze in the 100m breaststroke.
Manitoba’s Kelsey Wog won her third straight 100m breastroke gold medal (1:08.23), and her third gold of the meet.
“It was a really good race, I was able to execute what I’ve been training,” said the third-year Bison. “I’m also excited that I’ve shown the consistency to win the event for a third straight year and I’ve just got to keep going.”
Montana Champagne continued to impress for the Ottawa Gee-Gees, as he captured his second gold of the meet in the 400m individual medley with a time of 4:24.25.
Price knows swimming fans will be in for a treat as the final day of competition resumes Saturday with preliminary races at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT, the long distance preliminaries (women's 800m and men’s 1500m freestyle) scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. PT and finals scheduled for 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
“It’s going to be a battle until the bitter end. We’re going to be in tough with the University of Toronto women, they’ve got a few more swims than we have but our girls have been swimming really tough,” said Price. “On the guys’ side, they’ve cut into Calgary’s lead and have a chance...but again, they’re going to have to do a really good job in the morning.”