Toronto Sweeps UNLV & Denver As Byron MacDonald Picks Up 500th Career Win

Toronto vs UNLV vs Denver

  • Friday, October 21, 2022
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • SCY (25 yards)
  • Results
  • Team Scores:
    • Women: Toronto 203, UNLV 59
    • Women: Toronto 208, Denver 54
    • Women: UNLV 187.5, Denver 74.5
    • Men: Toronto 143, UNLV 110
    • Men: Toronto 180, Denver 82
    • Men: UNLV 156, Denver 102

The University of Toronto took a rare trip south of the Canadian border last week, heading to Las Vegas for a double dual meet against UNLV and Denver.

It was an extremely successful showing for the Varsity Blues, earning a sweep as head coach Byron MacDonald picked up his 500th career win.

MacDonald ended up claiming wins number 500, 501, 502 and 503, as the Toronto women swept UNLV (203-59) and Denver (208-54), and the men topped the Rebels (143-110) and the Pioneers (180-82).

MacDonald is in his 45th season as the team’s head coach, having started back in the 1978-79 season.

“Reaching the milestone of 500 wins is super,” MacDonald said. “Of course, it’s the swimmers that have done so well over the years and this group really did well here in Las Vegas.

“It was great to see our team rise to this challenge and race people they have never seen before.”

The Varsity Blues have consistently been among the top teams in U SPORTS (Canada’s version of the NCAA), including the women’s team winning the national title last season.

The meet was scored 9-4-3-2-1, so with Toronto picking up the majority of the event wins, they dominated the final scores.

WOMEN’S RECAP

Four different U of T swimmers picked up multiple individual wins on the women’s side, led by senior Ainsley McMurray. Overall, the Varsity Blues won 13 of 14 events.

McMurray, a fourth-year senior who is the reigning U SPORTS champion in the 50 free, won the women’s 50 free (23.22), 100 free (49.91) and 100 fly (54.52), and also swam the fly leg as Toronto won the meet-opening 200 medley relay (1:42.94).

Second-year Raili Kary, who swam the lead-off leg on that relay in 25.98, was one of the double winners individually, leading a U of T 1-2-3 sweep in both the women’s 100 back (55.44) and 200 back (2:00.08).

Last season, Kary was the U SPORTS runner-up in the women’s 100 back.

Also winning two individual events for the Varsity Blues were freshmen Nina Mollin and Katie Marovino.

Mollin scored a dominant win by nearly nine seconds in the 400 IM, clocking 4:18.19, and in the 200 IM, she edged out UNLV junior Blanka Bokros, 2:01.50 to 2:01.65.

“Few people really knew who Nina was because she grew up close to Chicago and had not competed in Canada much,” MacDonald said.

“We knew she had to talent to become a major player in U SPORTS though and we are starting to see that already with her being named to the Canadian jr. national team and standout swims in our dual meets this early in the season.”

Marovino dominated the distance events, winning the 500 free (4:58.75) and 1000 free (10:11.33).

The lone non-Toronto win went to Denver sophomore Jessica Maeda, who clocked 2:16.30 to lead the women’s 200 breast field by more than two seconds. Maeda owns a best time of 2:13.57, done last season when she earned a dominant Summit League Championship victory.

Other Winners

  • 200 free – Aleka Gold (SR), Toronto – 1:50.17
  • 100 breast – Madeline Spencer (SO), Toronto – 1:02.89
  • 400 free relay – Toronto (Gold, Kary, Chubaty, Vander Leek) – 3:23.10

Final Scores

  • Toronto 203, UNLV 59
  • Toronto 208, Denver 54
  • UNLV 187.5, Denver 74.5

MEN’S RECAP

The contest was a little more evenly matched on the men’s side, though Toronto still rolled to a sweep, winning nine of 14 events.

Double winners for the Varsity Blues were sophomores Gabe Mastromatteo, Carter Buck and junior Bernard Godolphin.

Mastromatteo, one of Canada’s top breaststrokers and a Tokyo 2020 Olympian, won the men’s 100 fly (49.53) and 200 breast (2:01.03), and added a runner-up finish in the 100 breast, touching in 54.94.

Winning the 100 breast was UNLV sophomore Adnan Beji, a Tunisian native who was third at the WAC Championships last year in the event. Beji registered a quick early-season time of 54.08, with his PB sitting at 52.98.

Buck swept the men’s 100 back (50.29) and 200 back (1:47.30), while Godolphin topped the 200 free (1:38.46) and 500 free (4:30.90).

Godolphin is the reigning U SPORTS champion in the 100 free, having clocked a best time of 49.01 to win the 2022 title in February (short course meters).

Also winning for Toronto was sophomore Jacob Gallant, and freshmen Benjamin Loewen and Quinn Matteis.

Gallant, the 2022 U SPORTS champion in the 400 IM, won that race by nine seconds in a time of 3:55.46, while Loewen won the 200 fly (1:50.91) and Matteis won the 1000 free (9:29.06).

UNLV won a total of five events, including sweeping both relays, topping the 200 medley (1:28.46) and 400 free (3:00.33).

Along with Beji, the Rebels had individual wins from junior George Ratiu in the 50 free (20.21) and freshman Zsolt Szodi in the 100 free (45.07).

Final Scores

  • Toronto 143, UNLV 110
  • Toronto 180, Denver 82
  • UNLV 156, Denver 102

This was Toronto’s lone trip to the U.S. for the season—in fact, it was their only regular season meet on the road. The Blues will face some top Canadian opponents at home, with the first being Western on Oct. 28, prior to the Ontario Championships at Western (London, Ont.,) in early February.

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Carl
3 months ago

What happened to Denver lol

James
3 months ago

Important note, UT suited up for this meet while UNLV and DU did not.

crossborderswimfan
Reply to  James
3 months ago

important note for sure, however if you look at the times, many Toronto victories including some sweeps of the top 3 spots were significantly faster than UNLV and Denver….not sure a suit would have made that big of a difference in those races.

James
Reply to  crossborderswimfan
3 months ago

For sure! UNLV Men vs. Toronto Men I think the suits need to be noted. Regarding the other scores, perhaps not.

crossborderswimfan
Reply to  James
3 months ago

agreed. The U of T women were dominant, and I think in fact will win the U Sports Canadian championship

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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