September 19th, 2014

 

The UBC Thunderbirds were one of the top teams in the CIS in both men’s and women’s competition, and it seems as though this year with some key pickups and transfers they’re in a position to possibly win both the men’s and women’s titles.

Arguably the most desired recruit of the 2013-2014 graduating class in Canada was Yuri Kisil who won the 100m freestyle at the Canadian Pan Pacs and Commonwealth Games trials back in April making him the youngest Canadian to ever go under the 50-second barrier.

He’ll be crucial for not only individual points, but the relays. He boats a 49.26 100m freestyle and a 22.53 in the 50; both in long course meters. With the new rule-change making the CIS making finals long course, Kisil will most likely be able to rack up individual points in those events. The 100m freestyle is an event that UBC didn’t win last year, but multi-time CIS Champion Coleman Allen did come second. Put Kisil and Allen in the race and there’s a possibility for a 1-2 finish. The combination of the two will also put them in a good spot heading into the 4x100m freestyle relay.

Not only will the UBC men excel in the sprint freestyles, but with the recent addition of Keegan Zenatta, a transfer from the University of Victoria, the UBC men don’t necessarily have a weak link in the freestyle chain. Zenatta has shown success in the middle-distance and distance freestyles and could be a major threat this year.

Zenatta won the 400m free at last year’s CIS Championships with the University of Victoria and placed third in the 200m freestyle. With last year’s CIS Champion Coleman Allen and Zenatta on the relay, it’s possible that the 4x200m freestyle relay could be an easy win for them again.

Coleman Allen should be able to pick up multiple medals going into his senior year. With UofT swimmer Zack Chetrat, who won the 200m fly five times consecutively at the CIS Championships, it seems as though Allen could be the one to take home the gold. Allen won the 100m fly last year, but was just out-touched by Chetrat at the wall by a few hundredths of a second to end up finishing second in the 200.

Te UBC men should have some success in the backstroke as well with the likes of Mitchell Benkic. Benkic finished second at last year’s CIS Championships behind Russell Wood. Wood will most likely have another win under his belt this year considering the fact that he’s truly established himself as one of the main backstroke forces in Canada. Benkic however, will be up there with him and will be crucial on the 4x100m medley relay. With Benkic swimming the backstroke, Sergey Holson most likely swimming the breaststroke, Coleman Allen swimming the fly, and Yuri Kisil swimming the freestyle, the race will most likely be there’s assuming there’s no DQ.

The UBC women’s team is still arguably the best in the CIS at the moment. With multiple swimmers who’ve represented Canada internationally such as Tera Van Beilen, Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson, Savannah King, and Heather MacLean, the UBC women have one of the strongest teams in history.

Last year they almost doubled the point total at the CIS Championships by second place finisher, the University of Montreal, and this year it looks as though they’re still untouchable. They’ve got wins almost guaranteed in the breaststroke and IM races with the likes of Van Beilen and Seltenreich-Hodgson. Van Beilen won the 50 and 200 breaststrokes at last year’s CIS Championships and included a bronze in the 400m IM and a silver in the 100m breaststroke.

Fiona Doyle from Calgary was her toughest competitor in the breaststrokes and will be back this year, which should set up some great battles between the two. Van Beilen did have tons of experience this summer as she competed at the Commonwealth Games very successfully.

In the 50m breaststroke, Van Beilen placed fifth. In the 100, she was sixth ahead of Canadian Kierra Smith and in the 200 she finished ninth in the semi-finals missing out on the finals by seven one-hundredths of a second. There’s no doubt her experience this summer will help her get that breaststroke sweep at this year’s championships.

Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson also represented Canada this summer at the Commonwealth Games which included an amazingly impressive swim in the 400m IM which ended up granting her a fourth place finish. She’ll be going into her second year at UBC, and with the international experience she gained there’s a good chance she could win multiple events at this year’s championships.

With victories last year in the 200m IM, 400m IM, 200m fly, and a silver in the 200m backstroke, she’s definitely going to be coming back a lot stronger to start off this year.

Savannah King will be a huge factor in the freestyles, as she won the 800 last year and placed second to Montreal’s Barbara Jardin in the 400. With tons of international experience and the fact that she’s going into her returning senior year, she and Jardin will most likely go neck-and-neck in the distance freestyles all over again.

The UBC women have a huge advantage, and over the next few seasons it seems as though they’ve got CIS victories all but locked in. With head coach Steve Price and the rest of the UBC team attracting some of Canada’s best swimmers; this season could provide the UBC team with a victory in both men’s and women’s titles.

 

Source : Swim Swam