Swimming: We are hosting the champions!

The University of Calgary Aquatic Centre is buzzing as the Dinos get ready to host the Canada West swimming championships this weekend.

The cw championships are held every five years by the U of C and are one of the largest and most important swimming events in the city. This year’s competition features over 20 of Canada’s senior carded swimmers that represent top contending schools from throughout western Canada, including the University of British Columbia’s former Olympians Brian Johns and Scott Dickens.

The 2007 cw showdown will also be marked with the return of 2004 Olympian Erin Gammel to the competitive swimming arena after a two-year sabbatical.

“It’s really exciting to have cw here this year,” said Gammel. “We’ve been doing a lot of team building exercises to get psyched up for the weekend like making posters together and doing a lot of team workouts.”

With a successful recruiting season last year and the exceptional performance of the Dinos at the last cw championships, Dinos head swim coach Mike Blondal is hopeful about the team’s performance this year.

“We’re going to see direct competition between the full rosters of other teams and the full roster of our teams,” said Blondal. “The uc Aquatic Centre is a great venue for crowds to get everyone pumped.”

Blondal added that the Dinos were a mere six points out of approximately 600 shy of winning last year’s cw.

ubc’s Thunderbirds are rated first in both men’s and women’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport swim rankings, making them the Dinos’ main competition this weekend.

“ubc is really fierce this season,” said Blondal. “They have been really dominant.”

Despite the involvement of many former Olympians doing much to raise the profile of the competition, Blondal maintains that no one is given special treatment.

“All our team members are approached the same way,” Blondal explained. “They’re all just swimmers in the end.”

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