The Gryphon swim team posted impressive results over the reading week
Led by the efforts of potential Olympian Alisha Harricharan and rookie Evan Van Moerkerke, the Gryphons have dazzled in the pool on the provincial and national levels.
Dating back to the OUA Championships from Feb. 7-9 in Toronto, the Gryphons have combined to tally 17 total medals at the provincial and national level. In the last few weeks, Guelph has proven that they can hang with the traditional swimming contenders like Western, Toronto, and McMaster.
Guelph finished fourth overall in both the men’s and women’s divisions at the OUA finals. Gold medals from the OUA rookie of the year Van Moerkerke in the 100-metre and 50-metre freestyle events as well as a silver in the 100-metre backstroke encapsulated an impressive performance by the young standout. A gold in the 200-metre and silver in the 100-metre were won by Matthew Stephenson, and Derek Quick earned a bronze in the 1500-metre freestyle.
Harricharan earned gold in the 50, 100, and 200-metre butterfly events, setting an OUA record in the 100-metre. With the assistance of Tess Wey, Sasha Boulton, and Erica Pate, Harricharan also earned bronze in the 400-metre freestyle relay. For her efforts, Harricharan was named the OUA female swimmer of the year.
Harricharan and Van Moerkerke led their respective squads into the CIS Championships held in Calgary from Feb. 21-23. Both would earn two medals over the course of the championship.
Harricharan earned gold in the 100-metre with a time of 59.72, shaving nearly half a second off the OUA record-breaking time. A bronze in the 50-metre butterfly rounded out her performance on the national stage.
Evan Van Moerkerke concluded an impressive few weeks by capturing bronze in both the 50 and 100-metre freestyle events. His times were 22.99 in the 50-metre, and 46.65 in the 100-metre.
The strong performances by these two led to a 14th-placefinish on both the men’s and women’s side of the competition.
The men’s side was won by the University of Toronto for the first time in 18 years, ending a frustrating national drought for the perennial contender. The University of British Columbia and the University of Calgary rounded out the top three. A mere 25 points separated Toronto from Calgary in the final standings.
The women’s side was dominated by the University of British Columbia, as the Thunderbirds scorched the competition to win with 150 points more than second-place finishing Calgary. The Toronto women finished third in the championship.
No Gryphons were selected for individual awards, and both swimmers of the year came from the Thunderbirds. The sprinter’s cup, awarded to the athlete that wins both the 50 and 100-metre freestyle events, was only awarded on the women’s side, going to Caroline Lapierre-Lemire of the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.
With both Harricharan and Van Moerkerke returning next year, there remains an excellent opportunity for both the men and women of the Gryphon swim team to maintain and improve their standing within the university swimming landscape, an excitement that is sure to be experienced as the team continues the year-round process of training for next season.
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