OUAs a length away

Swimming tunes up for provincial championships

Queen’s tore up the pool at the Carleton Invitational this weekend.
Queen’s tore up the pool at the Carleton Invitational this weekend.

After a successful showing at the Carleton Invitational last weekend, the men’s and women’s swimming teams are looking for a strong finish to their seasons at the upcoming OUA and CIS championships.

The invitational in Ottawa was the Gaels’ final swim meet before the OUA championships, which take place Feb. 10 to 12 in Sudbury. After undergoing a rigorous training schedule, which included a two-week camp in Sherbrooke over the winter break and seven practices a week throughout January, the Gaels say they are prepared to enter the most important leg of their season.

Head coach Viki Raymond said the team is currently entering what is called the “taper,” which allows the athletes’ bodies to recover for the championships.

“Basically we work hard all year without resting, and then [for] two weeks before the finals we have less practices with lower intensity,” she said.

The team had a very strong showing at the Carleton Invitational considering that they are currently just entering the taper and are competing while their bodies are in their most exhausted state of the season.

“I thought it went really well,” said team veteran Suzie Dickinson. “Up until this point we’ve trained in seven practices a week. We’re at the beginning of taper and the team had some really good times—we’re more than on track for what we are expecting.”

The women were particularly impressive on the weekend. In the 100-metre butterfly event, Gaels Jessica Kelly, Jaime Nemeth, Andrea Sweeney and Andrea Greschner placed first through fourth respectively. The women also prevailed with a sweeping performance in the 50-metre freestyle, in which Faye Ling, Jennifer Arthur, and Basia Pajerski finished first through third respectively, and posted times that were very close to their personal bests.

“Ling did very well in the sprint 50- and 100-metre freestyle,” Raymond said. “She had a great meet last weekend.”

The men’s side was also successful at the meet, posting a couple of personal bests. In the 400-metre freestyle, Dave Clinkard was able to improve on his previous best time, while David Korpela improved his time in the 100-metre freestyle.

For the Gaels, the story of the meet was team captain Kate Perry, whose time of 2:42.50 in the 200-metre breast stroke qualified her for a spot at the CIS championships at Laval University Feb. 24-26. In order to qualify for the CIS championships, swimmers must record a CIS standard time in an official race during the season. Perry’s time ranked her fourth in the CIS on the season.

“[Perry] has been swimming well for us all year,” said Raymond. “She has already qualified to compete at the CIS championships in the 50-metre breast stroke and 100-metre breast stroke races.”

Raymond added that Queen’s Brittany Segeren has also qualified to race in the 200-metre breast stroke at the CIS championships, and is currently ranked first in the country for that event. Segeren posted a time of 2:38.40 at the U of T Invitational tournament on Jan. 13. Currently Segeren and Perry are the only Queen’s swimmers to have qualified for the CIS championships.

However, Raymond said she is optimistic that the team will have a good representation at the CIS championships, as she anticipates that individual times will improve at the OUA championships.

Dickinson echoed her coach’s optimism about the upcoming OUA championships.

“We’re really excited for the OUAs,” she said. “Our team is mostly graduating athletes, and we’re very experienced and know what to expect.”

Raymond said she is looking for a particularly good showing from the women’s team at the championships.

“The women’s team is very good,” she said. “Last year we finished fifth [in the OUA], and this year we are looking to finish fourth or third.”

Dickinson agreed that the Gaels have the potential to challenge the top teams in the province.

“Usually Toronto, Guelph, and [McMaster] are the status quo,” she said. “We’re looking to break in this year.”

Dickinson added she believes that the Gaels will not only have a strong showing at the OUA championships, but that they will be well-represented at the CIS championships as well.

“I think that we should have about seven or eight women and one or two men that will qualify for the CIS [championships],” she said.

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