Swim team finds success at CanWest Championships

Bisons claim four medals at 2023 tournament

The University of Manitoba Bisons swim team made strides toward nationals with its success at the 2023 CanWest Championships.

Hosted from Nov. 24 to 26 by the University of Calgary Dinos, the Bisons achieved several impressive times that paid off with podium finishes and a personal best.

Women’s co-captain Ella Howe continued to make a name for herself at the tournament. She swam to a gold-medal finish in the women’s 50-metre freestyle with a time of 25.64 — a personal best. She returned to the podium for the women’s 100-metre freestyle, achieving bronze with a time of 56.71.

Howe was not the only captain who took accolades from the women’s 100-metre freestyle. Kelsey Fillion claimed gold with a time of 55.81, almost a full second ahead of her second-place competitor. Fillion competed in a total of four individual finals over the weekend, the highest number out of all the Bisons.

Second-year Shea Guest joined her teammates in the spotlight by qualifying for nationals in the women’s 50-metre backstroke with a speedy time of 29.22. Guest is the 10th member of the Bisons’ swim team this season to earn a spot in the U Sports Championships next March — the highest number in the last five years.

A handful of Bisons made a splash by reducing preliminary finish times in the finals.

Veteran and men’s co-captain Carson Beggs and rookie Eric Dupre cut significant time off their preliminary numbers in the men’s 200-metre breaststroke and 200-metre freestyle, respectively. Beggs removed nearly 2 and a half seconds, placing fourth in the breaststroke with a final time of 2:15.81. Meanwhile, Dupre finished 11th overall in the freestyle with a time of 1:52.16, reducing his preliminary time by 1 and a half seconds.

Men’s co-captain Andriy Usan cut down his times in both the men’s 50-metre butterfly and the men’s 200-metre butterfly. Usan reduced his preliminary race times to 25.06 in the 50-metre and 2:07.19 in the 200-metre.

Third-year Rhade Kostelnyk reduced his final time in the men’s 50-metre breaststroke, placing 12th overall with a time of 28.80. Rookie Ty Unrau placed sixth in the men’s 50-metre freestyle, cutting down his preliminary result to a final time of 23.05. Veteran Georgia Pengilly placed sixth overall in the women’s 100-metre backstroke, cutting her time down to 1:03.72.

It was the women who dominated the group races at CanWest. Fillion, Howe and Pengilly worked together with third-year Hannah Schanel to secure silver in the 4×100-metre freestyle relay, clocking in with a time of 3:49.82. The foursome also finished just off the podium in the 4×200-metre freestyle.

Schanel, second-year Gavin Reimer and third-year Kara Dziadek also made finals appearances. Schanel managed times of 26.80 and 29.26 in the women’s 50-metre freestyle and butterfly, respectively, while  Reimer finished the men’s 50-metre butterfly with a time of 25.55 and Dziadek secured a time of 59.82 in the women’s 100-metre freestyle.

The Bisons finished the 2023 CanWest Championships meet with a total of 426.5 points. The women finished fifth overall — dropping down a spot following a two-year, fourth-place-overall run — while the men ranked sixth overall — one placement higher than their ranking in the 2022 tournament.


The Bisons swim team looks to finish 2023 on a high note at home with the Prairie Winter Invitational at the Pan Am Pool from Dec. 7 to 10.