Tigers show their black and GOLD
Black and gold took on a new meaning in this past weekend’s AUS swimming finals at the Dalplex. The Dalhousie Tigers continued their traditional domination of the meet, winning their 14th straight AUS title for the men, and the women’s 11th consecutive banner.
Not only did the Tigers win two championships, but individually Dal swam strong as well.
Tigers’ Kyle Watson and Katie Webster were named rookies of the meet, and Webster and David Sharpe were the swimmers of the meet.
But it was Emmalina Corriveau, Molly Wedge and Keisha Mills who really stepped up, breaking AUS records.
Corriveau eclipsed the record in the 200 metre backcrawl. “I didn’t quite know how fast I was going so it was kind of a surprise to go that fast,” she says.
Corriveau now has to reset her goals for the CIS finals. “This was kind of the time I had set for them,” says Corriveau. “I would like to be at least a second under that time.”
Wedge broke the 100 metre freestyle standard after reading some welcome encouragement. “Someone on my team sent me a little note and told me to read it right before my race and it was a note that was just for me and it really fired me up,” she says. “I felt really strong and really excited because I knew I was going fast, [but] I was really surprised; I didn’t think I went that fast.”
The 100 metre freestyle record was previously held by Carla Geurts, a two-time Dutch Olympian. Tigers head coach David Fry was impressed with Wedge’s swim. “You know you’re in pretty good company when you break a record like that,” he says.
Mills broke the 200 metre breaststroke record. “It’s one of my favourite events,” she says. “I’ve been sick this whole weekend so it was nice getting a good swim out of it.”
Corriveau, Wedge and Mills are all proud of their team as a whole.
This is Corriveau’s third year on the team and she thinks they just keep getting better.
“The team has just improved so much,” says Corriveau. “We are miles ahead of where we were before and that’s just really exciting for everyone.”
For rookie Wedge, her first AUS finals was a positive one. “It’s amazing. Everyone is really behind each other and when people get up to race it makes you more excited,” she says, “I think that’s why we are swimming so fast because we are really supportive of each other.”
Second-year Mills agrees.
“It’s just incredible. There is so much energy and everyone is swimming so well,” she says. “With all the hard work we put in to it, I’m not really all that surprised.”
Assistant Coach Gary MacDonald says the entire team swam well. “You can’t really pinpoint anybody because the whole team swam amazingly,” he says. “We got 35 out of 36 going to nationals and that’s a new record for us. We are one shy of a perfect team.”
That new record creates new problems. Teams are only allowed to bring 18 swimmers to CIS. The women’s team has qualified 20.
“It’s a difficult problem to have, but a good problem,” says MacDonald. “I think we are going to bring everybody to the meet to reward them, but two kids will not be able to swim.”
Fry now has to translate those numbers into performances and he has to decide who will be competing at the national championships.
Fry hopes the men will finish top five at CIS and believes if the women swim to their best ability, they might make top six.
For most of the team, their energy is focused on the two upcoming meets: the CIS championships from Feb. 23-25 and, following that, the Olympic Trials being hosted in Montreal from Mar. 27 to Apr. 1.