Preview: Swimmers set sights on AUS crown
Habitual Atlantic champs hope to continue
With the entire men’s team returning and the women’s side only losing two players from last season, Dalhousie’s swim team is looking to do big things.
The men’s team is seeking their 14th consecutive AUS championship and the women are pursuing their 11th. After last year’s strong CIS finish of 6th and 10th place respectively, the team expects to be a powerhouse nationally.
On the women’s side, rookies Molly Wedge, Paige Crowell, Alison Grant and Rachel Shin are joining a team of strong swimmers: Julia Gow, Michelle Campbell and the record-breaking relay team of Meagan Bernier, Mary Claire Lynch, Ceilidh MacPherson and Emmalina Corriveau.
The men’s group, which graduated no players last season, is welcoming Kyle Watkins and Aodhan Somers. With the addition of Saskatchewan native Colin Flysak, Tigers head coach David Fry has now coached a swimmer from every province.
Bryan Fumerton, Simon Boilard, Kit Moran and Joe Ur are the top scoring men and will lead the team this year. They are aiming for a top five finish at nationals this year.
The men have been in that position before. “We’d like to do it again this year,” said Fry. “I think we can if we swim to our capabilities and things fall into place.”
As for the women, with Terri-Lynn Benison not swimming varsity, the team is going to have to work hard, said Fry. “A lot of other women are going to have to step up and replace those points.”
Men’s swimmer David Sharpe and Benison, a graduated Tiger continuing to train with the team, have high hopes for this year; the two of them are bidding for Olympic berths.
“If you had asked me six months ago, I would have probably said an outside shot,” said Fry, “but I think Sharpe’s chances now look a lot better.”
“The top two go to the Olympics,” said Fry. “Right now David is ranked third in the country in the 200 butterfly, which is his best event.”
Sharpe is continuing to improve, said Fry. “He made his best time this summer so I think his chances have improved quite considerably.”
Benison also has a quality chance to wear the red and white.
“Terri-Lynn’s goals are a little bit different,” said Fry, “Right now she’s somewhere around eighth in the country. Her goal is to make the Olympic trails. Once you make the finals you are racing for the Olympic team and anything can happen.”
The Dalplex hosts the AUS Invitational Nov. 19-20. The Tigers will aim for continued success at the Atlantic championships Feb. 10-12 and later in the month at the nationals in Montreal. Then, finally, the Olympic trials are held at the end of March.