With about a month to go until the OUA championships, U of T’s star-studded swim team reminded McMaster that they are a force to be reckoned with. Winning 19 out of 24 events at Varsity Pool last Sunday more than justified both the men’s and women’s victories of 89-49 and 78-60, respectively.

“Dual meets are an important part of our final preparation as they force the swimmers to go one-on-one against the other swimmers,” said Blues’ assistant coach Linda Kiefer. Clearly the team agreed as they delivered nothing less than outstanding performance after outstanding performance.

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Competition opened with the home team setting meet records in both the men’s and women’s 400m medley relay and setting the bar for the level of swimming to be expected in the ensuing singles events.

The men’s team, by now a solid fixture on the national swimming scene, demonstrated exactly why they are where they are. Astounding in and of itself was the fact that Zack Chetrat, Martyn Forde, and Curtis Samuel all picked up a gold in single events, and even more impressive were the dual victories and meet records of Mike Smerek and Stevan Kalaba. But let’s not forget Cameron Cummings—identified as the star of the day by coach Byron MacDonald—who won all three of his events and shaved .56 of a second off a record that had stood for seven years in the 50m backstroke.

The performance of the women’s team was nothing to balk at either. Single event winners included Heather Maitland, Rebecca Sharpe, and Kaleigh McKinnon while Pamela Ruksys and Andrea Jurenovskis were both victors two times over. Ruksys took the gold in both the 400m individual medley and the 400m freestyle further emphasizing she has the potential to be “a real threat in the longer races for sure,” according to coach MacDonald. Jurenovskis added a meet record in the 100m freestyle and a meet record in the 50m backstroke to her resume demonstrating her supremacy in the shorter races.

Although they successfully wrapped up their last dual meet for the 2009-2010 season, for the stand-out Blues swimmers things are just heating up. Next weekend they’re slated to host the Ontario Cup, which is a dynamic competition featuring swimmers across the province not only at the university level, but high school as well.

Not long after that, they’ll be at Brock University in search of OUA titles. Head coach MacDonald sees the pecking order as comparable to that of last year. The men are looking to defend their place on the top of the podium and the women, who placed second last year behind the Western Mustangs, may face a similar fate again this year. Zsofi Balazs, who was the top recruit in the country coming into this season, suffered a concussion last fall, and MacDonald thinks it’s unlikely that she will be able to compete for her team as they attempt to seize the provincial laurels.

Regardless, it’s easy to see that the Blues won’t disappoint. As they near the close of another mind-blowing season, nothing less than the best can be expected. It can be guaranteed they will dive head first into some serious sink-or-swim competition.