Earning the respect

By Kris Kotarski

Two stellar athletes, two stellar years. Swimmers Josh Ballen and Megan Kinsella are saying their good-byes and preparing to bow out of University of Calgary athletics after two quite different careers with the Dinos.

A Management graduate as of last summer, Josh Ballen came to cowtown after three years at the University of New Brunswick to complete his last two years of Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union eligibility. The move from his home in Prince Edward Island was prompted by the simple fact "there was not a lot of competition left in the Maritimes." He also notes that Calgary’s national training program was a reason to come.

After blowing the competition out of the Atlantic waters, he proceeded to do the same as a Dino by capturing a flurry of gold and silver medals last year in helping propel the U of C to second in the CIAU. This year, the going was a bit more challenging for Ballen as he surfaced from the national championships with bronze and silver medals despite the fact that he feels "this year the team really came together." He adds this is something he will miss about his time with the Dinos.

"I’ll miss the varsity competition," he says, but quickly notes that this will not be the end of his swimming career. Ballen plans to continue swimming with the national program during the next season, proving that you can’t let a lack of eligibility get you down.

Megan Kinsella, on the other hand, has just begun her varsity swimming career. This season marks her second and last year at the U of C. Although she has been swimming with the university club since she was 11 years old and made the natural transition to intercollegiate competition just a couple of years ago as a Dino, she will be moving to the beautiful beaches of Miami to attend university and swim with the aid of a full scholarship.

"I wanted a completely different culture from Calgary," she says as justification for her decision to fly south.

But her consistent appearance in the top spots of CIAU standings will be missed by Calgary fans who saw her assist the Dinos to a second-place finish Nationals this season. Of course, she will miss her own involvement with the U of C.

"I have no complaints… I love the coaches and I love everyone," she says while relating the tearful adieus she shared with her teammates.

"I think our team is awesome," she exclaims. "I’m going to miss being a Dino… we’re always the loudest cheerers [and] I love the rivalry with [the University of British Columbia]."

Although on different paths, these are two athletes that have great things in store.

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