Early morning practices, late nights studying, days of pain from strenuous training and weeks of anticipation have all led to this week for the Tigers swimming squads, who will travel to Prince Edward Island to compete in the 2013 Subway AUS Swimming Championship February 8-10. Both Dalhousie teams have a history of excellence at the AUS championship with the women having won the last 11-straight meets and the men remaining champions for the past 14 consecutive years. Since the inception of the programs, the women have won an impressive overall total of 25 AUS championships and the men have won 22. Despite the Tigers dominance in the pool, the AUS championship meet is always a fierce battle and this year’s event is sure to be nothing less than exceptional.
A competitive women’s squad
Swimmers to watch this weekend include Megan Bernier and Michelle Campbell, who will be looking to complete their season with some AUS hardware. Bernier is a third-year swimmer with roots in Cole Harbour, N.S. and has recorded CIS championship-qualifying times in the 800m and 400m freestyle events. Fifth-year team captain and Port Hawksbury, N.S. native Campbell has excelled in three events so far this year, qualifying for the CIS meet in the 50m freestyle and 50m and 100m backstroke.
Also highly competitive this season, Keishia Mills has set new Dalhousie and Nova Scotia records in the 50m breaststroke and new AUS and Dalhousie records 200m breaststroke. Mills also set AUS, Dalhousie and Nova Scotia records in the 100m breaststroke, but was recently bested by teammate Audrey Prayal-Brown by .63 of a second. Mills and Prayal-Brown will be racing for the top of the podium this weekend. The women’s squad will also look to second-year breast stroke swimmer Paige Crowell and sprint freestyler Molly Wedge who are both from Prince Edward Island, to give their hometown crowd a good show.
Men’s team stand-outs
On the men’s side fans will want to keep an eye on third-year Chris Reith (Halifax, N.S.) and second-year Kyle Watson (Dartmouth, N.S.) in the distance events. Both swimmers have already met the CIS qualifying standard in the 400m and 1500m freestyle events. Team captain Kit Moran has also qualified for the CIS meet in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke events and the Prince George, B.C. native has also set a Nova Scotia provincial record in the 100m individual medley.
First-year Tigers athlete James Profit will be swimming for a podium finish in front of a hometown crowd. A native of Charlottetown, P.E.I., Profit has already qualified for the 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley at the CIS contest later this month. The only male athlete to have already qualified for the maximum four CIS events is fourth-year David Sharpe (Halifax, NS). A 2012 Olympian, this season Sharpe has set new AUS, Dalhousie and Nova Scotia records in the 200m individual medley and backstroke events.
Head coach Cansdale is ready
Dalhousie head coach Lance Cansdale looks forward to his first AUS championship meet and says his team is ready for the challenge this weekend. “Although we are focused on the CIS championships, the conference championships always brings the best out of our swimmers. I expect some fast swimming, new records and personal best times along with a lot of hardware coming back on the bus Sunday evening.”
Following the Subway AUS Championship the student-athletes who have qualified for the national meet will have less than two weeks until the CIS championship, which starts in Calgary, Alta. on February 21.
2013 Subway AUS Swimming Championship, February 8-10
Heats Warm-up: 8:30-9:50am
Heats Start: 10:00am
Finals Warm-up: 4:30-5:50pm
Finals Start: 6:00pm
Live webcast will be available online at: http://www.austv.ca/
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