Swim teams bring their best to CanWest

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Elian Mikkola

Small but mighty in the water

By Julia Peterson

The University of Regina men’s and women’s swim teams made a splash at the Canada West Championships last weekend in Lethbridge, Alberta, bringing home a total of seven medals and naming three swimmers to all-star teams.

They were competing against students from The University of Lethbridge, which hosted the meet, the University of Manitoba, The University of British Colombia, and other university teams in western Canada.

“The meet was great,” said Etienne Paquin-Foisy, a third-year engineering student who competed in the three-day event.

“It’s always a fun experience to go there, because everybody is really hyped to swim fast, and it’s the first big meet of the year for most of us. It’s good to see how fast we can swim and what we can do.”

On the men’s team, Paquin-Foisy placed first in the 200-metre butterfly and third in the 100-metre butterfly, and fourth-year Campion College science student Brian Palaschuk earned silver medals in the 200-metre freestyle, 200-metre individual medley, and the 400-metre individual medley.

“With a team of nine men, we managed to finish fifth  in the conference, so that’s great,” said assistant coach Daniel Gomez.

Third-year Luther College Faculty of Arts student Bree Crookshanks represented the women’s team with silver medals in the 100 and 200-metre breaststroke.

Other universities may have brought more swimmers to the meet, but Paquin-Foisy says that the U of R team is small but mighty.

“Even though we’re pretty small and not the most well-known team at U of R and at CanWest, everybody on the team is really passionate about swimming and wants to improve on their best all the time,” he said. “We’re like a big family, and it’s a great atmosphere.”

Gomez emphasized that, as much as these victories represent individual accomplishments, they also speak to how well the team has been working and training together.

“It’s not just about the three people who were named all-stars, or who won medals,” he said. “Swimming seems like an individual sport, but it really isn’t; without their teammates, it would be difficult to win any medals at all, so the whole team is part of those medals that were won. It’s about the process of pushing each other and elevating each other.”

This year’s team, including first-years Brenan Alejado – who won the B final of the 100-metre butterfly on Saturday – Mitchell Brough, Martin Cheung, Aden Dickinson and Firas Saidi have been training together since August, before the school year began.

“Swimming is a sport where you train 11 and a half [months] out of the 12 months of the year,” said Gomez. “I don’t know who trains harder than us in the country.”

In January, the University of Regina will be hosting a swim meet, the College Cup, for the first time in the program’s history. The team hopes that their friends and supporters in the city will give them a home-crowd advantage.

“It will be huge in promoting the sport of swimming in Regina at a university level,” Gomez said. “And the cheering . . . really fires up the guys and girls to swim even faster than they could have otherwise.”

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