The Varsity Blues men’s and women’s swimming teams both took first place at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Fairweather Division Championships, hosted at home from November 23–24. They topped the University of Waterloo Warriors, University of Western Ontario Western Mustangs, and Laurentian University Voyageurs with ease.
From the first to the last event, the atmosphere on the pool deck and in the stands was electric. Each team had their own corner, where swimmers would scream their support for their teammates between races. One half of the 50-metre pool was dedicated to warm up, while the other half was used as the short-course competition pool.
There was hardly a quiet moment during the weekend-long event, and the Blues teams were among the loudest and most supportive groups in attendance. Their exuberance matched their performances, as the women finished 298.5 points ahead of Western, and the men 360 points ahead of Waterloo. Both topped their respective rankings.
Leading the women’s events was veteran standout Hannah Genich, who notched a first-place finish in her two relay and four individual events. Following Genich’s success were rookie Abby McDonald, who secured five overall wins, and Estonian national team swimmer Aleksa Gold, who scored three wins.
Rachel Rodé claimed two first-place finishes, and Kate Rendall, Georgia Kidd, and Sarah Polley each rounded out the Toronto team with one leading time as well in solo events. Beyond their wins — which were plentiful, with a Blue landing atop the podium in all but one race — there were impressive swims from other Blues swimmers like Claire Howard. The sophomore hit U SPORTS-qualifying times in three different events, and is poised to be a big competitor for the Blues this season.
On the men’s side, four Blues snagged a pair of wins each. Veterans Osvald Nitski and Matthew Mac swept the 100- and 200-metre butterfly and backstroke events, respectively, while Graeme Aylward won the 100- and 200-metre breaststroke medals. Rookie Bernard Godolphin shone in the distance events, clinching first in the 200- and 400-metre freestyle races.
Nitski, Mac, and Aylward also teamed up with veteran Cameron Kidd to win the 200-metre medley relay. The relay teams were strong for the men, with five out of the six finishing on the podium across three relay events. Kidd, Ethan Fazekas, and Chris Ruus, who all had single wins of their own, all played important roles on the relay teams as well.
The victorious Blues will next compete in the new year, when they head to London, Ontario, on Saturday, January 11 for another matchup with the Western Mustangs.