Victories and a few hard Knox at Tennessee swim meet

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Keep on swimming /Elian Mikkola

U of R Swim preps for nationals in international competition

The U of R swim teams may be gearing up for the U Sports Canadian National Swimming Championships taking place in February, but some members still found time to make an international splash last weekend. Brian Palaschuk [EIC’s note, the very same amphibian who writes for us], Mitchell Brough, Kareem Tarek Mohammed, and Brendan Van Herk traveled down to the United States for the TYR Pro Swim Series which took place from Jan. 16 to 19 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Brough says that the most memorable part of his weekend was the atmosphere at the pool.

“There were a lot of big university teams there, and everyone was super hyped up and cheering on their teammates,” he said. “The pool was absolutely massive. You had a lot of people in the stands from the public, and then there was this row of kids with the inflatable banger things. It was so much fun.”

As this was the last meet before Nationals, head coach Abderrahmane Tissira sees – or Tennessees? – U of R’s performance at the TYR Pro Swim Series as an encouraging sign of the team’s preparation.

“The athletes performed really well,” he said. “They did really good. We are five weeks out from Nationals, and these are our last steps, our last preparations before the Nationals in Victoria, [B.C.] . . . Now we are in the final preparations: finishing the race strategy and knowing how they can be ready for their event. The athletes are ready – not only physically, but mentally they are ready to represent U of R at the nationals.”

Regina-born Brough says that the Knoxville meet’s size and high standards for competition are helping prepare him for the meets to come.

“It is nerve-wracking at first, especially coming from little old Regina, seeing this huge, massive, international-level competition,” he said. “It’s intimidating, but then you get to meet new people who are exactly like you. They’re feeling the same way.”

In the men’s 100m freestyle, Brough competed in Final D and ranked fourth out of eight swimmers, with a time of 52.42 seconds. Mohammed, who will be returning to Nationals on the heels of a strong performance last year, ranked 24th out of 36 swimmers in the men’s 1500m freestyle. Van Herk ranked 35th out of over 50 swimmers in the Men’s 400m individual medley, finishing the event in 4:40.84. The Carillon’s own Palaschuk, who currently holds six school swimming records, won Final C of the Men’s 200m individual medley, beating his competition with a time of 2:07.54.

Tissira is particularly proud of Palaschuk’s performances over the weekend event, especially considering the grueling training camp the team has just completed.

“After the training camp, they are all tired, but Brian Palaschuk stepped up and did a really good race,” he said. “If this is what he does when he’s tired and with no rest, when he is rested he will be really fast.”

Though the Knoxville meet was an intense weekend in the middle of an already-busy training season for the Cougars, Brough says he would look forward to going back.

“It was a really great opportunity for me as a swimmer, and I hope that more people who come to the Cougars swim team will be able to make it and get to experience this.”

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