By: Ella Milloy
LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – After falling to the UBC Thunderbirds by five points in 2019, the University of Calgary Dinos ended a decade-long title streak Sunday at the Max Bell Regional Aquatic Centre.
The Dinos’ 924.5 points earned them their first victory since the 2012-2013 season, beating UBC’s 860 points. It also marked Calgary’s 21st Canada West men’s title. The team is now tied with the Thunderbirds for the most titles in the history of the conference.
Rookie Dino Charlie Skalenda won two individual medals at his first championships.
Skalenda captured silver in the Calgary sweep of the men’s 400-m individual medley in 4:19.23, touching seconds after teammate Nathan Versluys in 4:17.35. Richie Stokes finished third in 4:20.48.
Skalenda earned bronze in the 200-m individual medley in 2:01.72. The first-year was recognized as the men’s Rookie of the Year for his performances.
Stephen Calkins of Calgary started off the meet strong with a win and a conference record in the men’s 50-m butterfly in 23.73. Siu Lun Ho and Dima Lin of UBC placed second and third in 23.91 and 23.97.
Calkins beat the previous record of 23.85 held by UBC’s Luke Peddie from 2016. He followed his win in the 50-m butterfly with a gold in the 100-m freestyle in 47.71.
Rebecca Smith stands out among the women
On the women’s side, Rebecca Smith of Calgary won gold in the 50, 100 and 200-m freestyle events, as well as the 50-m butterfly. Smith broke the conference record in the 50-m freestyle in 25.10, breaking UBC’s Hoi Lam Tam’s 25.12.
Smith now holds more championship records than any other woman in Canada West history. She was recognized as the women’s Swimmer of the Meet for the second year in a row.
Calgary’s 35-medal haul was accompanied by a third conference record in the men’s 4×100-m freestyle relay in a time of 3:17.30.
UBC’s women’s team captured the women’s title, marking their twelfth title in 13 years.
Emma O’Croinin of UBC kicked off the meet with a gold in the 800-m freestyle in 8:42.79. Teammates Anna Dumont-Belanger and Rosalie Davidson contributed to UBC’s sweep of the event in 8:53.54 and 8:53.76.
Liam Clawson-Honeyman continued UBC’s dominance of the distance events with a gold in the men’s 1500-m freestyle.
Blake Tierney of UBC swept the men’s backstroke, winning gold in the 50-m, 100-m and 200-m events.
Rookie Thunderbird Eloise Allen was awarded the Women’s Rookie of the Year award for her performances in the breaststroke events. Allen touched first in the 100-m breaststroke in 1:07.48 and later earned bronze in the 200-m breaststroke in 2:32.00.
She also contributed to UBC’s silver and gold medal performances in the 4×100-m freestyle (3:44.95) and 4×100-m medley relays (4:03.63).
UBC also won gold in the 200-m and 400-m individual medley, 200-m butterfly, 400-m freestyle and the 4×200-m freestyle relay. On the men’s side, Justice Migneault won the men’s 200-m individual medley in 1:59.59 and helped the 4×100-m medley relay win the last gold of the weekend.
The hometown crowd was treated to an outstanding performance from Apollo Hess of the Lethbridge Pronghorns. Hess broke his own Canadian record and the conference record in the 50-m breaststroke in a time of 26.63.
Hess also won the men’s 100-m breaststroke in 58.55 and the 200-m breaststroke in 2:10.25.
In his second year of eligibility, Hess now holds the most records of any active participants.
The UVIC Vikes took third in the overall team point scores. Padric McKervill led the way with a gold in the men’s 200-m butterfly in 1:59.36. Yasmin Perry’s win in the 100-m butterfly in 59.00 added to the team’s 15-medal haul.
The women’s team saw Erin Epp and Sophie Tarrant capture a gold and a silver in the women’s 200-m breaststroke in 2:29.59 and 2:30.03.
Lauren Crisp of UVIC also placed first in the women’s 200-m backstroke in 2:09.88, touching just ahead of Hannah Johnsen of Calgary in 2:09.91.
To wrap up the weekend, the University of Manitoba Bisons finished with close to 40 personal bests. At her final Canada West championships, fifth-year Dora Modrcin won a medal in three different disciplines.
It was Modrcin’s second year in a row winning three individual medals. Over her career as a Bison, Modrcin has won 12 Canada West medals.
FINAL TEAM SCORES
Calgary – 924.5
UBC – 860
Lethbridge – 361.5
Victoria – 351
Alberta – 342
Regina – 183
Manitoba – 90
Thompson River – 3
UBC – 918
Calgary – 810.5
Victoria – 547.5
Manitoba – 273.5
Alberta – 270
Lethbridge – 184.5
Regina – 72
Individual Award Winners:
Men’s Community Service Award – Mark McKenzie (Calgary Dinos)
Women’s Community Service Award – Olivia Roschat (UVIC Vikes)
Women’s Coach of the Year – Derrick Schoof (UBC Thunderbirds)
Men’s Coach of the Year – Peter Schori (Lethbridge Pronghorns)
Women’s Rookie of the Meet – Eloise Allen (UBC Thunderbirds)
Men’s Rookie of the Meet – Charlie Skalenda (Calgary Dinos)
Women’s Swimmer of the Meet – Rebecca Smith (Calgary Dinos)
Men’s Swimmer of the Meet – Apollo Hess (Lethbridge Pronghorns)
Cover Photo: Marit Anderson