The Dalhousie Tigers cruised their way to both the men’s and women’s Atlantic University Sport (AUS) swimming championships Sunday night at the CARI Complex pool.
It was the 15th straight men’s title and the 12th consecutive women’s crown for the Atlantic conference powerhouse.
The Tigers were sparked Sunday night by Audrey Prayal Brown, who set an AUS record in leading a Dalhousie medal sweep of the women’s 50-metre breaststroke in 31.96 seconds.
UNB finished second in the women’s team competition, with Acadia third, followed by Mount Allison, UPEI and Memorial.
Mount Allison grabbed second spot for the men, while Acadia took third, followed by UNB, Memorial and UPEI.
For UPEI coach Bill Calhoun, the meet was an unqualified success.
“We had numerous team records and personal bests, and we certainly laid the foundation for the next few years,” he said. “We had lots of swimmers in A finals each night, and the real highlight is that our two most successful swimmers of the championships — Rooske Wagemakers and Zach Laustsen — are both rookies. We have a very bright future and a strong base to build on.”
The Panthers had three finalists, Wagemakers, Laustsen and Emma MacKay, for the first time in the meet on Sunday night. UPEI co-captain Genevieve Cormier finished her five-year career Sunday by smashing the Panther record of former Olympian Janet Gamble in the 200-metre backstroke in 2:33.15.
Wagemakers set UPEI records in each of her four finals events on the weekend, and Laustsens racked up two fourths, a fifth and an eighth in his finals appearances.
The next stop for many of the swimmers is the national championships in Calgary, Feb. 21 to 23.
The AUS championships were a big undertaking, given the snowstorm made travel difficult.
“The athletes are all here in a local hotel and bused here, so we know the athletes can get to the venue,” explained meet referee Marguerite Middleton. “The issue is whether or not the officials can get to the venue.”
The championship meet required 50 officials for each session. They included senior positions like the starter and referee as well as the judges for ensuring the stroke and turns were done properly. It also included timers for each lane.
“This weekend has been absolutely exceptional,” Middleton said. “We’ve had people drive 45 minutes in a snowstorm. We’ve had people walk in. We’ve had people snowshoe in.”
The list of volunteers included varsity athletes, parents of swimmers in minor club programs and many more.
“I have been absolutely humbled, to be honest, by the response,” Middleton said.
A varsity athlete told her he had walked in backwards Sunday morning because the blowing wind hurt his eyes.
“That to me speaks volumes,” she said, of the athlete living up to his commitment and his dedication to the university. “Your faith in mankind, to be honest, is very much renewed.”
Full results can be found at results.teamunify.com/cancb
u Male swimmer of the meet – Kyle Watson, Dalhousie.
u Female swimmer of the meet – Katie Webster, Dalhousie.
u Male rookie swimmer of the meet – James Profit, Dalhousie and a Charlottetown native.
u Female rookie swimmer of the meet - Kristen MacPherson, Acadia.
u Male team of the meet - Dalhousie.
u Female team of the meet - Dalhousie.