Laurier swimmers find success in home pool

On Saturday, Laurier’s improved pool was put to the test when it played host to its first major university swim meet. Competing in their home pool for the first time this season, the Golden Hawks’ swim team enjoyed a successful day, finishing second in the overall women’s competition and third in the men’s, as well as exhibiting several impressive individual performances.

“We definitely performed really well in the pool,” said head coach Nandi Kormendi. “We were number two on the women’s side, a lot of our swimmers posted personal bests; I think we showed that we can compete with anyone.”

Joining the Hawks at the meet were teams from McMaster, Guelph, Laurentian and York. According to Kormendi, Guelph and McMaster were particularly stiff competition.

“Guelph and McMaster are among the top teams in Ontario, so it was a really good experience to go up against teams of that calibre,” he said. “I think Mac beat us on the women’s side mainly because of their depth; they’re a very big team and they’ve got a lot of talent, but we’re very happy with the way things turned out.”

In the women’s competition, the Hawks received first-place finishes from third-year Brittany Shaw in the 100-metre freestyle, rookie Carly Martin in the 200-metre butterfly, rookie Renee Dijk in the 100 and 200-metre backstroke and fourth-year Whitney Rich in the 200-metre individual medley as well as both the 50 and 200-metre breaststroke.

The women’s relay team of Shaw, Martin, Dijk and Rich also placed first in the 200-metre freestyle.

For Rich, this meet was a continuation of her dominance over the rest of Ontario, as she is currently undefeated in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) competitions this season.

“Having [Rich] on the team is just huge,” said Kormendi. “She’s incredibly reliable; it doesn’t matter if she’s tired coming into a meet, you can always count on her to find a way to win. To have her combination of leadership and skill is what every coach wants.”

On the men’s side, rookie Nemenja Colic was the lone first-place finisher, coming out on top in the 200-metre breaststroke.

The meet received a good turnout from the Laurier community as many fans showed up to cheer on the Hawks.

“[Having the home crowd] was great,” said Kormendi. “This was the first university swim meet I’ve been at where the stands were filled…. It was great to see everyone come out and support us.”

The Hawks’ next competition will come on the weekend of Feb. 5, 6 and 7 when they travel to Brock University to compete in the OUA finals.

“We’re definitely pretty pumped,” said Kormendi of the championship meet. “This will be the first time that we’ve really rested going into a meet, and we always do well at the OUAs.”