This past weekend, the University of Western Ontario hosted the OUA swimming competition, a three-day tournament with 42 events; 21 different events over the two gender categories of the OUA. The competition was won by the Toronto Varsity Blues, who took their ninth consecutive double banner victory by winning both categories in dominant style. The Waterloo Warriors were not to be ignored though, with event wins and podiums all throughout the three days and a competitive qualifying performance for the USports Swimming competition, the final swimming tournament of the year.
The Warriors Men’s team started their three-day tournament with a third-place finish in the 4×50 meter freestyle relay. The four-man strong relay team had a decent start, with Raymond Duong only a 100th of a second adrift from the eventual winners, Toronto’s Varsity Blues. The Blues increased their gap to the field in the second leg of the relay, with McMaster also in the hunt for gold. The final 50 meters saw Lukas Wormald complete his relay sector in 21.63 seconds — the fastest individual sector time of the Men’s category.
Wormald put in another brilliant effort in the Men’s 100 Short-Course Meter Butterfly, in which he placed second with a time of 54.45 seconds. He was only beaten to the line by Alex Boden, another varsity swimmer for the Waterloo Warriors. Boden, a second year student, beat Wormald by less than a 10th of a second, swimming the 100 meters in 54.38 seconds. The Warriors brought home a 1-2 finish with Kent Goni Avila of the Laurier Golden Hawks completing the podium for Event 10. Avila was 3/10ths adrift of Wormald’s second finish, clocking in at 54.74.
The Warriors Mens continued their day with more podium finishes. In Event 14, the 4×100 meter Medley Relay, the team finished in third place — two seconds slower than Western university Swimming, and two seconds faster than the University of Guelph. The event, however, was won in dominant fashion by the Toronto Varsity Blues, who won with a five second lead in a 3:40 second race. This third-place finish was later followed up with Wormald also winning the 50 Short-Course Meter Butterfly. Wormald won with a 0.26 second margin to Eric Ginzburg of the York Lions, finishing the sprint in 24.34 seconds.
Over the weekend, the Men’s team got more podium finishes. Boden finished third in Event 24, the Men’s 200 Short-Course Meter Butterfly. Boden’s finishing time of 2:01:24 was nearly two seconds shy of the required 2:03:02 to qualify for the USports swimming tournament. His efforts were only superseded by Michael Sava and Benjamin Loewen of the University of Toronto, who finished with a 1:59 and a 1:58 respectively.
There was also the extremely impressive display of balancing endurance with speed by Aidan Iapicco, who took a brilliant second-place finish in Event 38, the 1500 Short-Course Meter Freestyle. Iapicco’s time of 15:45:75 was 10 seconds faster than the required qualifying time for the USports championship, meaning Iapicco will be taking part in the upcoming championship. Iapicco only lost to Quinn Matteis of the Varsity Blues, who clocked in at 15:39:26. However, Iapicco was 15 seconds clear of third place Hayden Bartoch of Western University Swimming.
The last event of the tournament was Event 42, the Men’s 4×100 Short-Course Meter Freestyle Relay. The UW Warriors took second place one final time for the weekend, with the team of Raymond Duong, Gavin Lusby, Samuel Pei, and Lukas Wormald finishing the event in 3:25:45. The Western University Swimming team took gold in the final event, coming within three seconds of the OUA record with a time of 3:21:70.
There were other highlight performances and qualifiers, and the UW Warriors will be looking to maintain and improve on this form moving into the USports competition.