Laurentian swimmers perform well at OUA championships

Abby McDonald and Samuel Boily-Dufour

Share Adjust Comment Print

The Laurentian University swim team had quite a time at the OUA swimming championships this past weekend.

The Voyageurs came home with a pair of silver medals, a trio of bronze medals, a major award winner and a combined sixth-place finish.

“It went very, very well,” head coach Phil Parker said. “We got some podium finishes we weren’t really expecting.”

One of those surprise finishes came on Day 1 of OUAs, when the Voyageurs hit the podium in two sprint freestyle relays.

The championships got off to an excellent start for the Voyageurs, when the women’s 200-metre freestyle relay team of Erika Savage, Francesca Zammit-Maempel, Ryllie Tryon and Natalie Lefebvre touched the wall in third place in a time of 1:47.29.

Building off of their female counterparts’ momentum, the men’s 200-metre freestyle relay team of Christopher Eastick, Ryan Sims, Gabriel Fenn and Samuel Boily-Dufour finished second with a time of 1:33.77. On the individual side, the team qualified for eight B-final swims and three A final swims. Abigail McDonald cashed in the 100-metre butterfly, touching the wall in 1:02 flat to grab the bronze medal.

“That was a big boost,” Parker said. “That energy carried throughout the meet, and when you start a meet off that way, it’s hard not to ride that wave and keep going.”

Day 2 of the championships saw the Voyageurs qualify for nine B final swims and six A finals. Boily-Dufour led the charge for the Voyageurs, finishing in third place in a time of 23.06 in the 50-metre freestyle for his medal of the meet — just 0.06 seconds back from second.

In Day 3 action, the Voyageurs qualified for nine B-final swims and two A finals. Boily-Dufour once again paced the pack with his third medal of the championship, this time a silver in the 100-metre freestyle, touching the wall in a time of 50.23 seconds.

For their efforts, the rookie McDonald, along with Boily-Dufour were named the Voyageurs’ athletes of the week.

“Hitting the podium in the 100-metre fly, there’s a pretty tough field of butterfly swimmers in Ontario and for her to hit the podium in her first year is pretty special,” Parker said. “Sam got two individual medals. It’s his fourth year, so it was really nice to see him get back on the podium.”

At the end of the championship, Parker was named the OUA Women’s Coach of the Year — the first time he received that honour.

Parker has been with the team since 1991 and took over as head coach in 2002.

“It’s definitely not the reason we get into coaching,” Parker said of the award. “Your passion is so great, athletes achieve their goals, and you do everything you can to make sure they cross that stage in four years and graduate. When you get these little pats on the back once in a while, it’s very nice.”

Members of both teams who have qualified for nationals are back in the pool and prepping for the U Sports Championships, to be held in Victoria, B.C., Feb. 20-22.

Parker said he expects the Voyageurs to have two strong teams again next season.

“We’re graduating six women and six men this year, but we’re getting a couple of great recruits coming in, and then a lot of the rookies who are in their first year, we’ll have back.”

kdempse@postmedia.com

Twitter: @keith_dempsey

Comments