Swimming season preview

Bisons to watch for in the 2023-24 season

With the University of Manitoba Bisons swim team heading into the 2023-24 season this weekend, expectations are continuing to mount for the first swim meet of the year.

Roster turnover will make for some leadership changes from the veterans of the team, and the skill set of the new roster will see its first test Oct. 21 to 22 at the St. James Seals Invitational at Pan Am pool.

Whether they are returning swimmers or fresh faces, here are some Bisons to watch for during the long swimming season.

With Bisons swimming stalwarts Dora Modrcin and Megan Mozill having both completed their last year of eligibility last season, there is an opportunity for Bisons old and new to step up. Third and second year swimmers Kelsey Fillion and Ella Howe have been named the new co-captains of the team — Howe replacing Mozill in the role.

Both Fillion and Howe swam for the Bisons at last season’s U Sports Championships with commendable finishes having been in their second and rookie years with the herd, respectively.

Captain changes on the men’s side of the team will see veteran Carson Beggs return in the role with the addition of third-year Andriy Usan as co-captain for the 2023-24 season. Beggs also swam for the herd at last season’s U Sports Championships, while Usan claimed four personal best times during last season’s CanWest Championships in butterfly and freestyle.

The team has also announced the addition of rookies Eric Dupre and Ty Unrau to the men’s side of the roster and Avery Weiland to the women’s side this season. With long-time head coach Vlastimil Cerny entering his 31st season with the Bisons, the rookies will be in capable hands.

Other swimmers on the women’s side of the team to look for in the pool this year and at the upcoming meet are Hannah Schanel and Georgia Pengilly, each with standout performances at last season’s CanWest Championships. On the men’s side, Brayden Stacey and Gavin Reimer are Bisons to watch for, both having had a fantastic swim at last season’s Man-Sask Championships.

Last season, the women’s team finished fourth and the men finished seventh overall in the CanWest Championships, with the goal this season of moving up in the rankings. The herd also performed well at last year’s nationals and will look for podium finishes again this season.

This season’s first meet will allow the herd to test the waters and gauge their training for the long season toward nationals in March of next year.