By Gavin Schafer

If you really want to feel like a fat bastard, take a stroll around the University of Calgary swimming pool during Dinosaurs swim team training. Not only will you notice a humbling lack of hairy paunches, but if you happen upon them this week, you’ll find a group of water-bound athletes preparing for the Canada West swim meet Fri., Jan. 22 to Sun., Jan. 24 here on campus.

There are three big competitions in the next eight weeks. The first, CW’s being held at the U of C, will see teams from western Canadian Universities (Manitoba, Regina, Lethbridge, Alberta, British Columbia, Victoria) competing in Olympic style racing. Freestyle, butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and individual medley make up the style menu for both men’s and women’s classes where 13 individual races are complemented by three relays in each class.

According to Head Coach Mike Blondal, the swimmingly adept will abound this weekend as 15 nationally carded swimmers will be on hand for the competition. With that kind of talent he is optimistic the weekend will hold “the best fields seen in Calgary in the last eight years.” With this marking the beginning of the season’s competitive cycle, Blondal expects a variance in training levels between the teams.

As for the U of C team, he is confident about testing the competitive waters. “We have strong swimmers in both the men and the women, but it will be a tough battle in the men’s that could go either way,” says Blondal mentioning strong sides in ubc and UVic. “But we’re feeling good, we’ve trained hard with good results.”

With the second of the three big competitions being the Canadian Interuniverstiy Athletic Union meet followed by the Canadian National Swimming Trials in Victoria, this weekend’s meet should set the stage for the others, as western universities are traditionally dominant in the national swimming scene.

So the cool people will be shaving their fatfree bodies, snapping on those tight little rubber caps and donning the goggles. Will you be there for the start of it all on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the U of C pool? If not, then you can catch the action from 10-12 a.m. on Saturday with the finals running between 5:30-6:30 p.m., or Sunday from 9-11 a.m. with finals from 2-4:30 p.m. The cost: free, baby, for everyone. If nothing else, the humidity is good for the skin.

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