The University of Manitoba’s swim team competed in the annual Speedo Western Canadian championship in Calgary, Alta. this past Thursday, March 16 to Sunday, March 19.
Typically, the team doesn’t participate in the Speedo Western Canadian championship, opting instead to swim at its home meet, the ManSask championships. Therefore, it was a surprise to see them at this competition but a welcome one, nonetheless.
The team rallied together as it sought to achieve new best times, podium finishes and consistently make finals.
Kelsey Fillion started the weekend off for the herd, swimming the 200-metre freestyle in 2:08.38, good enough for fourth place, while she also split her middle 100 of the 200-metre freestyle to ultimately clinch a total number of 15 points from her fantastic swim. Fillion made it to the podium in the 100-metre freestyle final, placing second.
Ripping it up in the pool this weekend was none other than the team’s butterflyer, Andriy Usan, who absolutely crushed the 50-metre fly with a blisteringly fast final time of 25.24, helping him place fourth and qualify for the U-Sports swimming championship next season. Usan also reached the podium at the meet, placing third in the 100-metre fly final.
To add to the wealth of top tier Bison swimming, fourth year swimmer Georgia Pengilly dominated the 50-metre backstroke with a preliminary time of 30.61. In the finals, she shaved off 0.21 seconds for a time of 30.40. Pengilly placed fourth with a total number of 15 points, all of which were earned in the 50-metre backstroke.
Graduating swimmer Megan Mozill achieved two medals at the meet for the herd, obtaining a preliminary time of 1:06.99 in the women’s 100-metre backstroke event, and a final time of 1:05.81 to place third, and take off an astronomical 1.18 seconds between her prelims and final time. Mozill also swam into third place in the 200-metre back final.
Senior swimmers Dora Modrcin and Mozill will be graduating this year, as the end of both the swim season and school year slowly creep up.
It’s safe to say both of these women contributed immensely to the team — especially when it came to podium finishes — but also by just keeping the team’s energy high. These women were at the heart of the swim team’s culture and they will be missed greatly by the remaining members of the swim team and also by Bison athletics.
The Bisons have been dynamite in both competition and training all year long. And with more and more of the U of M swim team qualifying for U-Sports, we can raise our expectations for the herd to start ranking even higher than it did this season in both the Canada West conference and U-Sports rankings next year.
The swim team’s not quite done yet this year. The herd’s season closer, at the Canadian Swimming Trials, takes place from March 28 to April 2 in Toronto, Ont.
22/03/2023: The article originally read that Mozill was the only swimmer to receive a medal at the 2023 Speedo Western Canadian championship. It has since been corrected to say that Mozill received two medals, and that swimmers Fillion and Usan also received medals at the event.