Silver Was Western's Colour At OUA Swimming Championships
When the weather outside is frightful, well, you know the rest. While Old Man Winter was doing his best to wreak havoc outdoors in London, inside there was enough energy in the atmosphere to heat the entire city. This past Thursday was the OUA Provincial Swimming Championships. 3 days of both individual and team swimming competition at the Recreation Centre on campus at Western. Among the competitors was an Olympic athlete and World record holder, representing the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, named Kylie Masse. Masse, won a Bronze medal for Canada at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the 100 metre breaststroke, which lucky for her opponents, happens to be her specialty event.
To paraphrase Professional Wrestling Ric Flair, in order to be the best, you have to beat the best. Plenty of swimming excitement to choose from, however, there were other notables, particularly for Western, to keep an eye on throughout the Provincials. Charis Huddle, and Gamal Assaad, were in their final year of eligibility, so they were being looked upon to deliver the results that the host Mustangs were in search of. Western had a strong showing in the pool, particularly on Saturday, the final day of swimming. Huddle took home the lone Gold medal for her efforts in the water during the 100 metre freestyle. Matthew Loewen won a Gold medal for the Men’s team in the 50 metre SC breaststroke. Alex Paulins, Gamal Assaad, and the Women’s 400 metre SC Freestyle relay team, all brought the silver hardware home for the Mustangs. Paulins earned his sliver in the Men’s 1500 metre SC Freestyle, barely edging out his brother Sebastien, who won Bronze. Assaad lived up to the lofty expectations of the Western swimming faithful, by anchoring the Men’s 400 metre SC Freestyle relay team to their silver medals. Charis Huddle, in her usual clutch performance role, helped her Women’s 400 metre SC Freestyle relay team earn themselves a silver, in front of a very loud, packed aquatics centre on campus. The Mustangs won Bronze in the Women’s and Men’s 200 metre SC Medley Relay, as well as a Bronze for Matthew Klahsen in the Men’s 200 metre SC Backstroke.
The final results, however, were impressive to say the least. The Varsity Blues took over the 3 days in the water, taking home the overall team Gold for both the Women’s and Men’s teams. The University of Toronto, finished with totals of 1030 points by the Women’s team, and 932 points by the Men’s team. Western finished 2nd overall in both Women’s and Men’s, with scores of 582 points, and 748.5 points, respectively. The Women’s team from the McMaster Marauders, and the Men’s team from the Ottawa Gee-Gees, each won Bronze medals for their schools. The Marauders finished with a final score of 484.5 points, while the 3rd place Men’s team representing the Gee-Gees, ended the final day with 487 points. Honourable mention and special congratulations to the Mustangs’ Gamal Assaad, and Alex Paulins, on each receiving the Graduating Athlete Award Of Distinction.
After three days of intense, quality, swimming events in the 2018 OUA Provincial Swimming Championships, the final results were not as important as the emotion, as many swimmers swam in their last races, as they were in their last year of eligibility to compete. For the rest, who were moving on to the U-Sports National Swimming Championships in Toronto from February 22nd until the 24th, it was a chance to celebrate the moment, and then soon it would be back to work in preparation for the Nationals in three weeks time. Good luck to all the Athletes that will be representing Western in Toronto, bring home the gold!