UBC Men, Toronto Women Successfully Defend Candian U Sports Titles

2023 U SPORTS SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • February 23-25, 2023
  • Saanich Commonwealth Place – Victoria, B.C.
  • Defending Champions: Toronto (Women), UBC (Men)
  • Start Times: 10:00 am prelims/6:00 pm finals (PST)
  • SCM (25 meters) Prelims/LCM (50 meters) Finals
  • Psych Sheets
  • Live Results
  • Livestream

Written By: Ella Milloy

The University of Toronto women’s team successfully defended its championship title at the 2023 U SPORTS Swimming Championships in Victoria, B.C. With a total score of 1,336 points, the Varsity Blues surged ahead of UBC’s 1,166.5 points and McGill’s 872 points.

On the men’s side, the UBC Thunderbirds took home the banner with 1,158.5 points. The Calgary Dinos placed 2nd with 876 points. The uOttawa Gee-Gees also cracked the top 3 with 795 points, just ahead of Toronto’s 783 points.

WOMEN

Courtesy: Ella Milloy

Toronto’s Ainsley McMurray won the 100 free in 55.60, upsetting gold-medal favourite Rebecca Smith of the Calgary Dinos by 0.02 seconds. UBC’s Emma O’Croinin finished closely in 55.74 for bronze. Smith is a Tokyo 2020 Olympian and O’Croinin has made several international appearances for Canada, but it was McMurray who pulled off the upset.

McMurray has some international creds of her own, including as a member of the Canadian team at the 2018 Junior Pan Pacific Championships, but this swim was her first personal best in the 100 meter free since 2018, where she swam 55.85 in Fiji.

McMurray’s Fellow 4th year Varsity Blue Aleksa Gold boosted Toronto’s team score points with a win in the 200 back in 2:15.40. In a close fight for medals, teammate Haley Klenk finished 2nd in 2:15.42. Calgary’s Hannah Johnsen was 3rd in 2:15.93 from lane 8.

To start the final session, defending champion Josie Field of the UBC Thunderbirds led the entirety of the 200 fly to win in 2:15.13. Field’s swim scored important points for UBC’s women’s team in their fight against Toronto for the championship banner.

Rookie Varsity Blue Nina Mollin earned her 3rd individual medal of the weekend after chasing down McGill’s Naomie Lo on the last 50 for silver in 2:16.61. Lo touched in 2:17.20 for bronze.

In the last stretch of the 200 breast, Field’s teammate Emma Spence caught Lauren Shearer of the uOttawa Gee-Gees for the gold in 2:33.08. From lane 1, Shearer finished for silver in 2:34.15, followed by Sophie Tarrant of the home team Victoria Vikes in 2:34.62. 

The 800 free proved to be a crucial scoring opportunity for the Big Three teams. Defending champion O’Croinin led the pack to an important win for the T-Birds, averaging 33 seconds per 50 to finish in 8:53.75. Calgary’s Marit Anderson followed in 8:58.83 ahead of Toronto’s Anna Hein in 9:04.39.

O’Croinin finished her meet with wins in the 200, 400 and 800 free and was named U SPORTS Female Swimmer of the Year for 2023.

Events on the women’s side wrapped up with the 4×100 free relay, with McMurray of the Toronto Varsity Blues touching 1st for the team in 3:47.16. The UBC Thunderbirds claimed the silver in 3:48.72 and the bronze went to the Calgary Dinos in 3:49.82.

MEN

Courtesy: Ella Milloy

Toronto’s Michael Sava moved up from his 3rd place ranking at the 2022 championships to win the gold in the 200 fly in 2:03.57. Alex Boden of the Waterloo Warriors and Ambroise Petit of the Laval Rouge et Or podiumed for the first time this weekend, capturing silver and bronze for their teams in 2:04.35 and 2:04.52.

Petit finished just ahead of Varsity Blue rookie Benjamin Loewen by 0.02 seconds to podium.

Men’s 50 free champion Stephen Calkins of the Calgary Dinos topped the podium once again in the 100 free. In a time of 49.65, Calkins was the only swimmer under 50 seconds.

Thunderbird Siu Lun Ho touched in 51.18 for silver, followed by McGill’s Hazem Issa in 51.20. Issa beat teammate and champion in the 200 and 400 free, Pablo Collin, by 0.10 seconds for the bronze.

Coming down to the touch, Frederik Kamminga of the Alberta Golden Bears upset 50 and 100 breast champion Gabe Mastromatteo in the 200 breast in 2:16.06. Mastromatteo finished in 2:16.61. Hugo Lemesle of the uOttawa Gee-Gees rounded off the podium in 2:16.70.

Hugh McNeill secured UBC’s first win of the night in the 200 back in a time of 1:59.58. McNeill, the only swimmer under the 2 minute mark, beating Dino Richie Stokes 2:02.86 and Varsity Blue Carter Buck’s 2:02.95.

Like on the women’s side, the 1500 free was a battleground for points. Toronto’s Quinn Matteis took the lead early on and remained unchallenged for the rest of the event.

Matteis finished in 15:51.36 and was named U SPORTS Male Rookie of the Year.

Silver and bronze was up for grabs throughout the whole race. Swimmers across the pool swapped positions at various points, but Liam Clawson-Honeyman of UBC and William Risk of Victoria ultimately claimed the last podium positions.

Clawson-Honeyman finished in 15:54.79 ahead of Risk’s 15:55.79.

The men’s 4×100 free concluded the 2023 U SPORTS Swimming Championships. The UBC Thunderbirds took home the last gold of the night, finishing just 0.60 seconds above the U SPORTS record of 3:23.39 from 2019.

Calgary and McGill fought for 2nd and 3rd, with Ian Friesen of the Dinos finishing just ahead of Erik Linseisen of the Redbirds for the silver in 3:25.28.

Major Award Winners:

  • Female Community Service Award – Aleksa Gold (Toronto)
  • Male Community Service Award – Pablo Collin (McGill)
  • Female Rookie of the Year – Danika Ethier (Laval)
  • Male Rookie of the Year – Quinn Matteis (Toronto)
  • Female Swimmer of the Year – Emma O’Croinin (UBC)
  • Male Swimmer of the Year – Gabe Mastromatteo (Toronto)
  • Female Coach of the Year – Byron MacDonald (Toronto)
  • Male Coach of the Year – Dave Heinbuch (uOttawa)

FINAL TEAM RANKINGS

WOMEN:

  1. Toronto – 1,336.0
  2. UBC – 1,166.6
  3. McGill – 872.0
  4. Calgary – 818.0
  5. Western – 378.0
  6. Victoria – 331.5
  7. Manitoba – 302.5
  8. Dalhousie – 243.0
  9. Laval – 231.0
  10. uOttawa – 225.0
  11. Alberta – 159.5
  12. Guelph – 150.0
  13. Lethbridge – 125
  14. Montreal – 114.0
  15. Waterloo – 96.0
  16. Acadia – 89.5
  17. McMaster – 62.0
  18. Sherbrooke – 23.0
  19. Regina – 6.5

MEN:

  1. UBC – 1,158.5
  2. Calgary – 876.0
  3. uOttawa – 795.0
  4. Toronto – 783.0
  5. McGill – 745.5
  6. Lethbridge – 359.5
  7. Victoria – 353.0
  8. Alberta – 292.0
  9. Waterloo – 207.0 
  10. Western – 196.5
  11. Laval – 181.0
  12. Montreal – 157.0
  13. Dalhousie – 123.0
  14. Regina – 101.0
  15. Wilfrid Laurier – 85.0
  16. McMaster – 82.5
  17. Acadia – 65.0
  18. York – 61.5
  19. Sherbrooke – 17.0
  20. Manitoba – 15.0
  21. Carleton – 13.0
  22. Memorial – 2.0

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Wtf
1 year ago

These USPORTS are getting so bad. No more LC finals. I can’t stand it.

We’ve had SC WR’s posted at CIS before, and now they just kill the excitement by seeing slow times posted from the finals. SC has its place.

Jfhhfd
Reply to  Wtf
1 year ago

None of the top end swimmers at this meet were rested. Its just over a month before trials so this was pretty fast for a prep meet.

Rich
Reply to  Wtf
1 year ago

Long course + C finals…. Pretty dull combo.
Almost a 4 hour finals session.

Can’t wait to see the next dumb idea they come up with