Rebecca Smith’s 1:53.19 200 Free Highlights Blistering Day 1 of U SPORTS

2022 U SPORTS SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS

After a two-year wait, the best university swimmers in Canada didn’t disappoint during the opening night of finals from the 2022 U SPORTS Championships in Quebec City, as five records fell by the wayside on Thursday.

Canadian Olympic medalist and University of Calgary second-year Rebecca Smith was among the stars of the session as she picked up two individual gold medals, including setting a new U SPORTS record in the women’s 200 freestyle.

Smith Doubles Up, Clocks 1:53.1 200 Free

Smith, who set the Canadian Record of 1:52.24 in the event this past December at the Short Course World Championships (where she won the silver medal), dominated in the 200 free final in a time of 1:53.19, shattering her previous U SPORTS record of 1:54.85 set in 2019.

UBC first-year Emma O’Croinin (1:56.65) and Toronto third-year Aleksa Gold (1:57.96) rounded out the top three.

Smith was back in the water later in the session in the 100 fly, once again emerging victorious by more than three seconds in 57.18, narrowly missing her U SPORTS record of 57.03 set three years ago.

In the 400 free relay, Smith helped Calgary earn a third-place finish, and it appears as though she likely split 51.34, though results currently show that split for a different team member, Hannah Bennett. Smith has split as fast as 52.11 on a relay in the past, while Bennett’s best 100 free time is 56.85. (It’s also possible the splits are incorrect.)

DE POL NEARS 50 BACK NATIONAL RECORD

After Smith’s 200 free, the next record to fall during the session came in the men’s 50 backstroke, where UBC rookie Tayden De Pol obliterated a nine-year-old U SPORTS record while narrowly missing the Canadian National Record.

De Pol clocked 23.54 to win the event by nearly a full second, smashing Kelly Aspinal‘s 2013 U SPORTS (formerly CIS) record of 24.05.

De Pol, who came into the meet with a PB of 24.67, was just .05 shy of Javier Acevedo‘s National Record (23.49) set during the 2021 ISL season.

The first-year swimmers have been performing incredibly so far at the competition, with many likely deferring their first year of eligibility last year when the championships were canceled early in the season. Another rookie, Laval’s Arthur Millet (24.45), was the runner-up to De Pol in the 50 back.

MASTROMATTEO, WOG LOWER OWN 100 BREAST RECORDS

New U SPORTS records were set in both 100 breaststroke events, with Kelsey Wog and Gabe Mastromatteo both taking down their own marks en route to winning gold.

Wog won the women’s event by more than two and a half seconds in a time of 1:04.88, lowering her previous U SPORTS record of 1:05.05 set in 2020. The time falls just shy of Wog’s lifetime best, 1:04.80, set in November 2019.

Toronto’s Madeline Spencer (1:07.44) and UBC’s Emma Spence (1:07.59) rounded out the podium.

In the men’s event, Mastromatteo, a U of T first-year, set a new lifetime best and broke his own U SPORTS record in 58.51, lowering the mark of 59.00 he established in the prelims. Mastromatteo’s previous best was 58.97, set in 2019, while the U SPORTS record coming into the meet stood at 59.07 from Nick Kostiuk in 2017.

Lethbridge’s Apollo Hess and UBC’s Justice Migneault, both first-years, re-lowered their best times from the prelims and gave Mastromatteo a good run for the gold, with Hess also sub-59 with a blistering 58.63. Migneault clocked 59.02 for third, while Ottawa’s William Barrett (59.81) made it four men sub-1:00.

SECCHI’S 100 FLY RECORD HIGHLIGHTS IMPRESSIVE TRIPLE

McGill third-year Clement Secchi had a very impressive triple during the Thursday night’s session, including winning an individual gold and setting a new U SPORTS record in the men’s 100 fly.

Secchi successfully defended his 2020 title in a time of 50.99, breaking the 2015 record of 51.19 established by UBC’s Coleman Allen in 2015.

Fresh off his standout 50 back swim, De Pol took second in 51.64.

Earlier in the session, Secchi finished a close second to UBC’s Blake Tierney in the 200 free, as Tierney narrowly held him off in a time of 1:44.34. Secchi, who out-split Tierney 26.48 to 27.33 on the last 50, was the runner-up in 1:44.71. Both swimmers shattered their previous best times.

To cap the night off, Secchi led off McGill’s victorious 400 free relay in a time of 48.48, taking more than half a second off his previous 100 free best of 49.02.

He was joined by teammates Hazem Issa (48.65), Malachy Belkhelladi (48.77) and Pablo Collin (48.65) as they won the race by over two seconds in 3:14.37.

Lethbridge (3:16.93) and UBC (3:17.50) took second and third, with Toronto (3:17.71) locked out of the podium in fourth. Mehdy Ayoubi had a noteworthy 48.73 opening split for fifth-place Laval.

OTHER EVENTS

  • UBC fifth-year Danielle Hanus dominated the women’s 50 back in a time of 26.45, successfully defending her 2020 title.
  • In the women’s 400 IM, Toronto’s Gold and UBC’s Spence went head-to-head, with Gold opening up a four-second advantage at the halfway mark before Spence out-split her, 1:16.53 to 1:22.08, on breast to take the lead. Gold ran her down on freestyle, winning in a time of 4:38.88 to Spence’s 4:39.42.
  • Gold then anchored the Toronto women to victory in the 400 free relay, splitting 53.95 to hold off UBC’s O’Croinin (53.58) as the Varsity Blues clocked 3:39.51 to lead the Thunderbirds (3:39.96).
  • In the men’s 400 IM, Toronto first-year Jacob Gallant was slightly off his prelim time but it didn’t matter as he won decisively in 4:09.41, over five and a half seconds clear of runner-up Hugh McNeill (4:15.09) of UBC.

TEAM STANDINGS – THRU DAY 1

Women

  1. Toronto, 463.0
  2. UBC, 393.0
  3. Calgary, 243.0
  4. McGill, 178.0
  5. Manitoba, 128.0
  6. Western, 116.0
  7. Victoria, 107.0
  8. Ottawa, 66.0
  9. Alberta, 65.0
  10. Montreal, 61.0
  11. Guelph, 54.0
  12. Laval / McMaster, 50.0
  13. Waterloo / Dalhouse, 43.0
  14. Lethbridge, 16.0
  15. Acadia, 9.0

Men

  1. UBC, 411.0
  2. Calgary, 310.5
  3. Toronto, 249.0
  4. McGill, 244.0
  5. Ottawa, 233.5
  6. Victoria, 111.0
  7. Laval, 99.0
  8. Lethbridge, 95.0
  9. Alberta, 94.0
  10. Western, 67.5
  11. Dalhousie, 56.0
  12. Waterloo, 42.5
  13. Montreal, 34.0
  14. Acadia, 32.0
  15. Thompson Rivers, 20.0

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About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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