Vikes swim their way to four medals

The Vikes swim team returned from the CIS Championships in Toronto and both the men’s and women’s teams brought home hardware to put on the shelf. The men’s team finished seventh out of 20 teams at the event, while the women’s team finished 13th out of 22 teams. This tournament was the most difficult the swim team had encountered all season, and the two teams handled the competition very well, including podium finishes from Keegan Zanatta, Stephanie Horner, and Jon McKay. The team was happy with their performances against tough competition and will use this as a confidence builder and a stepping stone moving forward.

The first day of the event would see Zanatta capture UVic’s first medal of the tournament, swimming to bronze in the 200-metre freestyle. The Vikes would capture two more medals on day two of the event. Horner won bronze in the 200-metre fly and Zanatta swam to a gold medal in the 400-metre freestyle with an impressive time of 3:45.85, capturing the first and only CIS gold medal for UVic.

McKay would close out the tournament with a tremendous showing of endurance and determination, as the rookie sensation would swim to a silver medal in the 1500-metre freestyle. The Vikes won four medals throughout the meet, but not without other great performances from both the men’s and women’s teams.

Second-year Rachel Newman made the trip to Toronto and came home with great memories and impressive finishes, including her personal best eighth place finish in the 200-metre fly.

“I think the women’s team did really well,” Newman says. “The fact that all the women got a second swim was really great.” Newman recollected the stiff competition at the national championships. “We know we’re an underdog-type team,” Newman says. “The fact that we went up against these big teams and managed some best times was pretty awesome.”

Veteran swimmer Ian Mattock is in his fifth and final year of swimming at UVic, and he also elaborated on the experience of the national tournament. “It’s nice going out east to race against the Ontario guys and the Quebec guys we don’t normally get to see,” Mattock says. “The level of competition goes up quite a bit, you have to rise to the occasion.” Mattock is happy with his performance at his last CIS Championships and said, “It’s a good way to go out for me.”

Head Coach Peter Vizsolyi is in his 31st year with the program, and he commented on the mindset of his team heading into the national championships. “I try not to have a team expectation,” Vizsolyi says. “It’s a very hard thing to predict.”

Viszolyi said that he looks more for improvement rather than expecting certain results from his swimmers. Vizsolyi says, “There’s always mixed results . . . We’re looking for our swimmers to compete the best they can within their capabilities.”

Viszolyi was impressed with the improvements many of his swimmers made, including McKay and Jennifer Short. “There were some really outstanding performances,” Viszolyi says. “There were no disasters either.”

The Vikes swim team left Toronto with more than just hardware. They shared some quality memories that even included an after party with some of the Toronto Raptors. This was another successful tournament for both the men’s and women’s teams, and both squads are feeling happy with their performance on the country’s biggest stage.

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