Photo courtesy of UBC Swimming Instagram page.
The University of British Columbia (UBC) is remarkable for its ability to consistently bring swimmers prepared for battle at championship time. They repeated this feat by capturing both the women’s and men’s Canadian Western Championship banners at this year’s championships hosted in Calgary. This was the sixth consecutive season the UBC men and women have swept the banners.
Many small battles must be won to create a stellar performance. A team must coordinate their swimmers in a team effort to capture a championship banner – this is the true excitement and excellence of university swimming and why it stands unique to individual performances.
The UBC Women ran away with their 10th consecutive title, outscoring the nearest competitors, the Calgary Dinos, by 274 points. They completed the event with the 969 points won in the finals. The men’s competition was closer, with the Thunderbirds defeating the second-place Dinos by 98.5 points, or the equivalent of five first-place finishes.
The standout swimmers of the meet were UBC’s Hoi Lam Karen Tam and University of Manitoba’s Kelsey Wog. Both women broke Canada West records throughout the meet.
On day one, Wog was just two one hundredths off her own Canada West record in the 50 breaststroke (30.56) on her way to gold. UBC won the 4x200m freestyle relay, blasting away the field by 14 seconds. Megan Dalke repeated as the 800m freestyle champion with a commanding lead, winning in 8:37.73. She was ten seconds ahead of the silver medalist, who is her teammate, Emily Overholt (8:47.54).
On day two, the UBC women began the night by sweeping the 50m freestyle. The winner, Hoi Lam Karen Tam, won gold with a new Canada West record in 25.12. Quincy Brozo (25.58) won silver and Mackenzie Gunther took bronze (26.04).
Later in the night, the Thunderbirds dominated the podium in the 400m individual medley event. Overhold took gold (4:39.77), Dalke (4:44.56) was second, and veteran Maia Brundage came in third (4:44.89).
Wog added two more gold medals and showed her diversity, winning gold in the 100m breaststroke and 200m freestyle. In the 200m free she was only swimmer in the final not from UBC and stole the gold and the show.
Danielle Hanus from University of Victoria set the second Canada West record of the night on her way to winning the 100m butterfly, clocking a 58.89.
The UBC swim team won the women’s and men’s 100m freestyle relay.
On the final day, Tam earned her second Canada West record in the 100m freestyle in 54.44. Wog was not to be outdone, putting up the swim of the week with her time of 2:22.28 in the 200m breaststroke, breaking a six-year-old record held by Olympian, Martha McCabe, by 12 hundredths.