Laurier Invitational Swim Meet

Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros
Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

According to Mike Thompson, head coach of the Wilfrid Laurier University swim team, it’s all about maximizing effort; whether it’s in a span of 22 seconds or up to 16 minutes, it’s about being able to go from zero to 60 in a matter of seconds.

After undergoing a rigorous training period in which the team competed in three meets the past three weekends, the WLU Invitational was a final chance to see where everyone was at before the Ontario University Athletics championships.

In what was supposed to be a meet to see whether or not Laurier could pull together some fast swimming, the meet turned out to be a successful event filled with podium finishes.

First-year Andrew Beaton-Williamson swept the butterfly events, claiming first place in both the 50- and 100-metre races, while second-year Kate Vanderbeek stepped out of her comfort zone and landed a first place in the 100-metre butterfly event.

Vanderbeek also earned a top finish in the 200-metre individual medley event and raced alongside third-year Miranda Smelt, first-year Helen Pu and second-year Nicole Dickens to win the 200-metre medley relay.

“Everyone is kind of tired and a lot of people are sick just from the winter but everyone put up really fast times for this time of the season, lots of hard events, so it was pretty good,” third-year swimmer Scott McAuley said.

Thompson was encouraged with the results, with many swimmers finishing in the top three despite the team being hit with the injury bug.

“These meets are tough because several of these guys had two or three minutes between maximum efforts and that’s a hard thing to do. It’s really hard to expect that they’re going to swim fast in that respect,” he said.

During her training this year, Vanderbeek has been making an effort to train in all of the strokes so that she can improve herself. She said it is important for swimmers to diversify their strokes, because improving one stroke will indirectly benefit its counterpart stroke.

“Everyone has one stroke that they’re really good at, but what you notice with a lot of the higher performance athletes is that, if you’re good at backstroke you can also swim a good 200-metre free,” Vanderbeek said.

“You might not see it immediately but if your breast stroke gets better you’ll make improvements in your fly, and if your backstroke gets better you’ll make improvements in your free.”

With Canadian Interuniversity Sport nationals happening in one month, the OUA championships is the last opportunity for swimmers to qualify for the coveted event. After earning top eight finishes in the OUA championships last year, Vanderbeek is looking to turn it up a notch.

“Last year I came top eight in 100 and 200 back at OU[A]’s but I’d like to be on the podium in all three at OU[A]’s this year,” she said.

The swim team will take the next two weeks to rest up before they travel to Ottawa for the OUA championships. The competition takes place between Feb. 6 and Feb. 8.

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