University of Toronto, McMaster Cruise To Ontario Divisional Championship Titles

2023 Ontario University (OUA) Divisional Championships

  • November 25-26, 2023
  • Merrily Stratten Division
    • Toronto, Ontario
    • SCM (25 meters)
    • Results
  • Dean Boles Division
    • St. Catharines, Ontario
    • SCM (25 meters)
    • Results on Meet Mobile: “2023 Dean Boles Divisional Championships”

The Ontario University Association (OUA) Divisional Championships ran this past weekend from two sites as the University of Toronto and McMaster University rolled to dominant victories.

Unlike Canada West, which held its championship meet on the weekend, the OUA Championships won’t be until February before the season-ending U SPORTS Championships slated for early March in Pointe-Claire, Quebec.

The divisional championships in U SPORTS are akin to midseason invitational meets in the NCAA, though the stakes in the team race hold more weight with titles and reclassification on the line.

The Ontario conference is split into two divisions, with the top four teams competing in the Merrily Stratten Division and the other six racing in the Dean Boles Division. Each season, the top team from the Boles Division (combined scores) moves up, while the 4th-place-finishing squad in the Stratten Division is relegated.


The University of Toronto Varsity Blues have long been a dominant force in the OUA, and that continued on the weekend as they rolled to a sweep of the Stratten Divisional titles, with the men claiming their 19th straight title and the women winning the crown for the ninth consecutive year.

Leading the charge for the U of T women were fifth-year Ainsley McMurray, second-year Nina Mollin and rookie Katie Schroeder, who all claimed three individual wins apiece.

McMurray won the women’s 50 free (25.47), 100 free (54.50) and 200 free (1:59.61), Mollin topped the field in the 100 fly (1:01.65), 200 fly (2:15.75) and 400 IM (4:45.95), and Schroeder led the way in the 50 back (28.05), 100 back (59.73) and 200 back (2:09.29), setting a new PB in the 50.

Also winning three times was Western’s Shona Branton, who swept the breaststroke events with best times across the board: 30.97 in the 50, 1:07.02 in the 100 and 2:30.21 in the 200.

The top performer on the men’s side was Toronto’s Ben Loewen, who broke a decade-old school record en route to his victory in the 100 back (53.53). He also topped the 100 fly (53.69), 200 fly (1:57.90) and 400 IM (4:18.78).

The Varsity Blues also had a three-win outing come from Graeme Aylward in the 50 breast (28.00), 100 breast (1:01.54) and 200 breast (2:15.66), notably beating out reigning U SPORTS champion Gabe Mastromatteo in both the 50 (28.61) and 100 (1:01.65).

The University of Toronto has instituted a mid-semester week-long break from classes, so the swim team used that to fly to Florida for a dual meet with FAU and a week-long training camp, which head coach Byron MacDonald believes contributed to the strong performances.

“I think that extra focus on training and being in the sunshine boosted our fitness level heading into this Divisionals,” he said. “Virtually everyone was faster at this year’s meet than last year’s.”

Team Standings – Women

  1. Toronto, 1240
  2. Western, 810
  3. Waterloo, 619
  4. Guelph, 416

Team Standings – Men

  1. Toronto, 1058
  2. Waterloo, 812
  3. Western, 796
  4. Guelph, 445


McMaster competed in the Stratten Division last year and was heavily favored to win the Boles Division titles this time around, and they did so handily.

The McMaster women were led by Megan Deering, who swept all four of her individual events, picking up wins in the women’s 50 breast (31.62), 100 breast (1:09.28), 50 fly (28.33) and 100 fly (1:02.67).

Cameron Johnsen (100 breast/200 breast) and Sam Chisholm (400 free/1500 free) were double winners for McMaster on the men’s side, while York’s Eric Ginzburg was the top performer overall with four titles in the men’s 50 free (22.79), 100 free (49.66), 50 back (25.84) and 50 fly (24.11).

Ginzburg’s times in the 100 free and 50 fly would’ve also claimed gold in the more competitive Stratten Division, while the 50 free would’ve been good for 2nd and the 50 back fast enough for 3rd.

Interestingly, every single one of the six schools had at least one gold medalist—Queens (Kim Song/W 200IM); Wilfred Laurier (Ken Goni/M 100 fly+200 IM); Carleton (Finn Tuck—M 100+200 back); host Brock University (Tatum O’Connor/W 50+100 back).

Team Standings – Women

  1. McMaster, 1209
  2. Brock, 713.5
  3. Queens, 694.5
  4. Wilfred Laurier, 368
  5. Carleton, 196
  6. York, 116

Team Standings – Men

  1. McMaster, 1111
  2. Brock, 759.5
  3. Wilfrid Laurier, 529.5
  4. Carleton, 356
  5. Queens, 351
  6. York, 196

Based on these results, McMaster will move up to the Stratten Division for next year’s (2024-2025) Divisional championship meet and Guelph will move to the Boles Division.

The divisions are named for a minimum five-year period for past coaches who distinguished themselves while coaching in the OUA Conference. Merrily Stratten coached the women’s team at Toronto for over a decade and won numerous national and conference titles. She also swam for U of T when she made the Olympic team in 1972. Dean Boles was the longtime head coach of WLU (M+W) and the very successful Region of Waterloo swim club that placed several swimmers on Canada’s Olympic teams. He is now the CEO and Head Provincial Coach for Swim Ontario.

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2 months ago

Coach Byron MacDonald of Toronto should be Canada,s head coach….my opinion for the last 30 years.

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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