Aquasaurs prepare for a championship win

By Orlagh O’Kelly

We will dominate Canadian swimming” says one banner adorning the Dinos’ Aquatic Centre. “Will” has been the operative word as the Canadian Interuniversity Sport title has eluded the Dinos for the last few years.

In past years, CIS titles were familiar to the university’s swimming dinosty. This year will be pivotal according to the Dinos as they try to reclaim the national honour.

“We want to compete for the number one team title this year and try to send a full complement to the CIS championship,” said head coach Mike Blondal.

The men’s team co-captain Chris Tobin, from Kentville, ON, confidently concurred with Blondal about this year’s expectations.

“We want to win CIS and to reclaim the Canada West title,” he said.

Judging by the Dinos’ performance over the University of Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas on Fri. night, both the men’s and women’s sides are poised to take a run at the national championship banner.

On the women’s side, rookie standouts Britt Robson, Jessica Craig and Jessica Johnson each took home a win for the swimmingsauruses.

The veterans also had impressive performances. Sophomore Kevyn Peterson, collected wins in the 200, 400 and 800 metre freestyle. Peterson’s times will likely place her atop the national rankings this early in the season.

Women’s team co-captain and former junior national team member, Hania Kubas, was enthusiastic about the results.

“We wanted to showcase varsity swimming to the rookies and bring the team together,” she said.

Without the 2006 CIS rookie of the year, Katy Murdoch, the lady Dinos still won 12 out of 13 events, soundly beating the Pandas 90-62.

The men’s side decisively followed suit. Tobin was the top point-scorer, dominating the breaststroke events. The leading rookie Colin Miazga won the 200 and 400 metre freestyle. The Dinos’ final score nearly doubled the Golden Bears in points with an amazing 100.5-52.5.

“We are satisfied with the results,” Blondal said. “There were a lot of personal best times, considering the heavy training and we came away with 10 men and 10 women already qualified for the CIS championship.”

Tobin and Kubas were equally optimistic, noting that the team is already well ahead of its performances this time last season.

Despite these impressive results, the Dinos will face their real test this weekend at the UBC Thundersplash. The exhibition competition will be the first opportunity for the Thunderbirds and the Dinos to meet face to face.

“We will be looking at ‘who’s who’ on the team,” Blondal admitted.

Both teams will be scoping out the other’s roster additions and omissions. The Dinos are boasting a robust rookie class, yet the women’s team is struggling with a couple eligibility issues. U of T transfer student Jen Porenta is still not cleared to compete this year and the Olympic year is another complicating factor. Some UBC athletes are expected to sit out this year to focus on the trials and ultimately the podium in Beijing.

Regardless of next weekend’s outcome, this year will prove to be a big one for the Dinos. They are looking to usurp the Thunderbirds and, as tradition goes, to send some Dinos off to Beijing this summer.


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