Swim team ready for provincials this Thursday

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Photo by Darien Funk

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks swim team travelled to Toronto two weekends ago and put together an impressive performance in what was their final tune-up before the OUA Championships.

Over three days of competition at the Toronto Grand Prix and the University of Toronto Invitational, the Golden Hawks were able to achieve five top five finishes in five different events.

“Coming off of our Christmas training, the team was prepared and put forward some great performances over the three days,” head coach Cathy Pardy said of the team’s overall performance.

A number of Golden Hawks swimmers performed well including third-year swimmer Ellen Lafroy from Thunder Bay, Ontario and fourth-year swimmer Jasmine Raines from Kitchener, who were the lone Laurier swimmers to find the podium in Toronto.

Lafroy finished third in the 400-metre individual medley with a time of 5:31:05 seconds. Jasmine Raines joined her with a medal as she placed third in the 50-metre breaststroke event with a time of 33.81 seconds.

Raines continues her incredible career now in her fourth year with the program.

She swept the breaststroke events in the last meet at the DeBray Divisional Championships that took place in Guelph back in November.

Raines was able to finish first in the 50, 100 and 200 metre breaststroke events for the fourth straight year at that competition.

Lafroy also finished in the top ten in three events a few months ago in Guelph, including a top five finish in the 200-metre butterfly event.

Along with their podium finishes, Lafroy had a strong weekend overall, securing two top 10 finishes in the 200-metre butterfly event and the 200-metre individual medley.

Raines finished fifth and ninth respectively in the 100 and 200-metre breaststroke.

When asked about Raines and Lafroy’s performance, Coach Pardy applauded their work ethic.

“It was a very busy time for them balancing university life and academics with swimming, and they were a part of a few of our swimmers who have put in a ton of work this year and have come out and performed well.”

Raines has her eyes set on the provincial championships next week, as she will likely be named an OUA all-star again.

During her illustrious career here, Jasmine Raines has won the swimming team MVP for the past three seasons and was named the 2019 athlete of the year for her results last season.

“We will look for Jasmine to come out and be victorious at provincials in her signature event, the breaststroke,” Coach Pardy said of the upcoming OUA Championships.

Along with that, Raines has won various weekly awards and was honoured by USPORTS, being named an academic all-Canadian after last year.

In her previous three seasons with the swim team, she has already left her legacy and only continues to improve at each and every competition.

Raines is in her final year of academics with the Golden Hawks but has a big decision to make next year: whether or not she will return and swim for the Golden Hawks a fifth and final year. Coach Pardy is hopeful of her return.

“We would love to have her back and will try our best to persuade her to compete another year with us,” Coach Pardy said.

On the men’s side, veteran swimmers Mitchell Gour and Tyson Macdonald each secured top five finishes.

Macdonald finished fifth in the 400-metre freestyle with a time of 4:24 seconds.

Gour finished fifth in the 50-metre backstroke with a time of 27.37 seconds, while also securing a top five finish in the 100-metre backstroke.

For Tyson in his fifth year with the program, Coach Pardy mentioned that he has worked consistently hard and will have another opportunity at representing Canada in the Paralympics this summer. a feat he has already accomplished last year.

“This is an exciting time for Tyson, as he has eyes set on competition with Canada, after provincials are over with,” Pardy said.

With great results all around, Coach Pardy is looking forward to the OUA Championships later this week.

The performances by the veterans of the club have encouraged Coach Pardy and are reason for optimsm headed into this week’s provincials.

These provincial championships will take place over a three-day competition hosted at the Toronto Pan-Am Sports Centre, starting this Thursday, Feb. 6.

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