The Voyageurs' men's and women's swim teams were in Toronto over the weekend competing at the OUA Championships and came home with an individual gold medal, a pair of relay bronze medals and a record-tying 9 swimmers qualifying for the U SPORTS Championships in Sherbrooke, QC from Feb. 24-26.
On Day 1 of the OUA's, the women's team qualified one swimmer for the 'A' finals, for the top 8 times in the preliminaries, and eight spots in the 'B' finals, for the 9th-16th fastest times in the prelims. The men had an equally strong morning session, qualifying for 2 spots in both the 'A' and 'B' finals. The evening session was highlighted by the women's relay team, who grabbed bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay, touching the wall in a school record time of 8:29.74.
Day 2 was equally impressive when the women qualified for 2 'A' final spots and 5 'B' finals. The men had a single 'A' final qualifier and 3 'B' final spots. The highlight of the evening session was Riley Konrad's 4th place finish in the 200m Individual Medley, missing out on the podium by less than 1.5 seconds in a time of 2:20.12.
Day 3 was the final day of competition and the Voyageurs made sure they went out with a bang. After the women qualified for 2 'A' finals and 6 'B' finals, and the men had qualifiers in 1 'A' and 1 'B' final, the team was prepped for a big evening. The women started things off in the first race of the evening, grabbing bronze in the 4x50m medley relay in a school record time of 1:57.83.
That set the stage for Konrad who dove into the pool near the end of the evening in the 400m Individual Medley. After touching the wall in 4th at the completion of butterfly, Konrad held her spot through the backstroke, heading into the 2nd half of the race in 4th. The breaststroke is where Konrad made her move, pulling herself into 2nd, just 6 one-hundredths of a second behind the leader. Konrad continued her strong 2nd half of the race in the freestyle leg, touching the wall more than half a second ahead of the next fastest swimmer to grab the gold medal.
The gold medal capped off a strong weekend for the Voyageurs who set an additional 4 school records. Two records came in the relays, with the women's 4x100m freestyle – 3:54.28 and the men's 4x100m freestyle – 3:23.72. Two more record came in individual events with Andrew Hrycusko setting the mark in the 50m breaststroke at 29.12 seconds and Cassandra Drescher stopping the clock in 56.69 seconds in the first leg of the 4x100m freestyle relay. Of the 12 schools competing, the women's team finished the Championships in 6th place with 340 points while the men finished in 7th with 226 points.
After all was said and done, a record-tying total of nine Voyageurs, 5 men and 4 women, will be swimming in Sherbrooke, QC from Feb. 24-26 at the U SPORTS Championships, including the men's 4x100m freestyle relay team, who is the first Laurentian relay team to qualify for nationals based on meeting the time standard.