It was expected to be a battle between the Laurentian Voyageurs and the Guelph Gryphons, as the seven universities that comprise the deBray Divisional Swimming Championships gathered in Sudbury a few weeks back.
It didn't take long, at all, to recognize that it would be no contest, with coach Phil Parker and the Voyageurs earning the promotion to the elite grouping of the OUA come next fall.
With relays kicking off the event, Laurentian wasted little time asserting themselves, securing first and second place finishes in both of the 4 X 100m freestyle relays. "Matt Schouten went out in 22.48, a new best time for him and club record, and that sort of set the tone," said Parker.
"The very next event, the 400 IM, Gabriel Fenn was ranked seventh and ended up winning. It was just such a powerful start for the guys and they never looked back. The guys, from start to finish, swam faster than anticipated."
Not that the Voyageur women were far behind that standard. Down by 100 points heading into the 400m freestyle and the relays to close out the competition, the L.U. ladies surged, settling for second place, but just 17 points back of Guelph, and easily enough to ensure that the combined aggregate banner would fly at the Jeno Tihanyi Olympic Gold Pool.
While Parker relied heavily, as expected, on star veteran performers Riley Konrad and Matt Schouten, both of whom secured three individual gold medals over the course of the weekend, there was no lack of remaining noteworthy performances.
"The one that stood out the most was Mitchell Cox on the men's side," said Parker. "He's more of a backstroker and ended up winning the 200m freestyle. He was the anchor on the "B" relay at the end of the meet, and he was faster than a guy on my "A" team. His two freestyle swims were very very impressive."
Earning silver, behind Schouten, with a time of 23.06, Samuel Boily-Dufour recorded a U Sports qualifying time, ensuring his presence at nationals in Toronto in February. Boily-Dufour would get the better of his teammate in the 100m freestyle, edging Schouten by 6/100th of a second (50.06 vs 50.12).
"Those two guys are turning some heads," said Parker. "We will be pushing the University of Toronto at the OUA's in the freestyle relay."
Riley Konrad and freshman Carling Steever also swept the top two spots in the 400 IM, with the latter breaking through the five minute barrier, posting a time of 4:59.45, just ahead of Konrad (5:00.42).
Former Valley East Waves star Ryllie Tryon also posted five personal best times in her five events. "It's hard to just focus on one or two of the swimmers, when the entire team rode this wave of energy on the weekend," said Parker.
Following are the podium placements by Laurentian Voyageur athletes:Matt Schouten - gold - 50m backstroke - 26.12
Matt Schouten - gold - 100m butterfly - 55.72
Matt Schouten - gold - 50m freestyle - 22.76
Samuel Boily-Dufour - gold - 100m freestyle - 50.06
Carling Stever - gold - 400m IM - 4:59.45
Mitchell Cox - gold - 200m freestyle - 1:55.46
Riley Konrad - gold - 200m IM - 2:19.18
Riley Konrad - gold - 100m butterfly - 1:04.06
Riley Konrad - gold - 200m butterfly - 2:22.79
Gabriel Fenn - gold - 400 IM - 4:43.68
Zach Shalovsky - gold - 50m butterfly - 25.69
Riley Konrad - silver - 400 IM - 5:00.42
Nick Vanderschoor - silver - 200 IM - 2:13.94
Carling Stever - silver - 200 IM - 2:24.03
Carling Stever - silver - 200m backstroke - 2:19.57
Carling Stever - silver - 400m freestyle - 4:27.78
Matt Schouten - silver - 100m freestyle - 50.12
Natalie Lefebvre - silver - 200m freestyle - 2:07.48
Natalie Lefebvre - silver - 800m freestyle - 9:24.58
Samuel Boily-Dufour - silver - 50m backstroke - 26.17
Samuel Boily-Dufour - silver - 50m freestyle - 23.06
Samuel Boily-Dufour - silver - 50m butterfly - 25.78
Erika Savage - silver - 50m freestyle - 27.45
Mitchell Cox - silver - 100m backstroke - 59.32
Mitchell Cox - silver - 200m backstroke - 2:08.62
Ryllie Tryon - silver - 100m backstroke - 1:04.32
Francesca Zammit-Maempel - silver - 100m freestyle - 59.44
Francesca Zammit-Maempel - bronze - 100m butterfly - 1:04.92
Chris Eastick - bronze - 100m backstroke - 59.88
Chris Eastick - bronze - 200m backstoke - 2:10.80
Beth Robinson - bronze - 50m breaststroke - 34.33
Beth Robinson - bronze - 100m breaststroke - 1:51.11
Beth Robinson - bronze - 200m breaststroke - 2:46.33
Zach Shalovsky - bronze - 50m backstroke - 26.65
Zach Shalovsky - bronze - 50m freestyle - 23.97
Ryllie Tryon - bronze - 200m backstroke - 2:24.17
Gabriel Fenn - bronze - 100m freestyle - 52.67
Natalie Lefebvre - bronze - 400m freestyle - 4:33.97
Joseph Deni - bronze - 50m breaststroke - 30.33
Erika Savage - bronze - 100m freestyle - 1:00.00