Laurier swims to the podium

(Photo by Heather Davidson)
(Photo by Heather Davidson)

Wilfrid Laurier’s swim team surpassed expectations in the pool this weekend with five first-place finishes and a new school record.

After months of practice, the Laurier swimmers found much success in their home ground, including five first-place finishes as well as many podium finishes.

First-year Dean Bennett had a great performance, capturing first place in the 50m freestyle when he finished with a time of 24.15 seconds, breaking the Laurier all-time record.

“It felt good,” Bennett said, pleased with his finish. “I had that goal in the beginning of the year to break that record because I knew I could. So at the beginning of the year I was thinking, ‘I gotta get this record.’ And I worked at it and tried to break it.”

Along with the first-place finish, he captured three other podium finishes, including second in the 100m butterfly, third in the 100m backstroke and third in the 200m individual medley relay with teammates Christopher Courtis, Christopher Caldwell and Scott McAuley.

“It was pretty good. I didn’t do any best times or anything but I think from where I am right now it was pretty good. Just got to practice and get ready for the [Ontario University Athletics] OUA meet.”

For the women, it was fourth-year Veronica Davis-Freeman who shined, capturing two first-place finishes in the 50m breaststroke and the 100m breaststroke, where her times were 35.69 seconds and 1:16.18 seconds respectively.

“I’m pretty happy with them,” Davis-Freeman said. “I didn’t swim my best event this weekend, which is the 200m breaststroke, which I think I have a higher chance at making [nationals] in, but these times are faster than I was at this point last year or the year before so I think it’s really promising heading into the OUAs in a week and a half.”

First-year Kaitlin Vanderbeek also won two of her four races, capturing first place in the 200m backstroke and the 200m individual medley. She also captured third place in the 50m freestyle event.

“Overall, I think we did really well as a team,” Davis-Freeman said. “I know a lot of people swam well, which is really promising heading into the OUA championships that we have in about a week and a half, so overall I think we did pretty good.”

Success brings confidence for the swimmers coming into the OUA meet at Brock University from Feb. 6 to Feb. 8., where Bennet and Davis-Freeman are still working hard to prepare for their next challenge.

“I just got to go to practice and do what my coach wants me to do, and make sure I’m healthy and ready to go for [OUA]s,” Bennett said.

For Davis-Freeman, it all comes down to time management.

“It sucks that it happens right in the middle of midterms so you have to be able to divide your time between school and swimming. So when you’re at the pool you have to focus on swimming and when you’re at school you gotta focus on school and try not to get caught up in either of them too much.”

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