St. Catharines, Ont. - The University of Toronto Varsity Blues flew out of the gate to open the 2019 OUA Swimming Championships at Brock University on Thursday.
Toronto’s women sit in first place with 375 points, ahead of the McMaster Marauders (192) and Western Mustangs (166). The Blues also lead the men’s standings with 328.5 points, ahead of Western (217) and Waterloo (180).
Toronto’s Olympic swimmer, Kylie Masse, cut through the water like butter on Thursday.
After tying her own OUA record in preliminaries this morning (26.40), Masse earned the major grand slam, winning her fifth career 50-metre backstroke title in 26.51 seconds.
“Kylie’s the best. She’s a generational talent,” said Varsity Blues head coach Byron MacDonald. “She’s a wonderful woman and very humble. Kylie loves being around the team. She draws a lot of strength being around the other swimmers. She works harder than anybody else in the pool. She has the fastest reaction time off the blocks at every meet she’s gone to, including the Olympics.”
Masse, the fifth-year senior and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, finished with three victories and helped her school break two OUA records.
She also anchored U of T’s 200 freestyle relay team of Emily Russell, Rachel Rodé and Sarah Polley to an OUA record time of 1:41.19. Masse capped off the night by swimming the butterfly leg as the Blues 400 medley relay team of Aleksa Gold, Kelsey Crocker and Ainsley McMurray swam an OUA record 4:05.94.
“It’s taken a long time to build this program, but the culture now is that if you’re going to the University of Toronto then you are expecting to perform at a high level,” said MacDonald. “We’ve raised the bar, and it’s my job to keep it there. It ebbs and flows, but what we’re really happy about so far this weekend is how our men’s team has responded.”
Rookie standout Rebecca Smith had an impressive OUA debut on Thursday night. Smith bettered Paige Schultz’s (Toronto, 2016, 1:58.08) OUA 200 freestyle record by over two seconds, touching the wall in 1:56.07. Gold (1:59.30) and Georgia Kidd (Georgia Kidd) completed the U of T sweep of the podium.
Smith also led a dominant performance by the Blues in the women’s 100 butterfly. The native of Red Deer, Alta., won the race in 57.96 seconds, while Hannah Genich (58.54), Kidd (1:01.06) Kaitlyn Burwell (1:02.23) and Jess Yu (1:02.70) finished 2-3-4-5.
The Varsity Blues men’s team has turned over more than 50 per cent of their swimmers.
Alberta Golden Bears transfer Bjoren-Ole Schrader kicked off the night leading a 1-2-3-4-5 U of T finish in the men’s 200 freestyle. Schrader touched the wall in 1:50.66 to claim the gold medal, followed by Gael Chaubet (1:50.68), Mitch Ferraro (1:51.89), Connor Walker (1:52.00) and Osvald Nitski (1:52.23).
The Blues had another solid showing in the 100 butterfly. Matt Dans won his second career gold medal in the event in 54.17 seconds, while Josh Gold (54.51), Nitski (54.80) and Matthew Mac (54.96) placed second, third and fourth, respectively.
Mac also tied for the gold medal in the 50 backstroke (25.72), with Chris Ruus placing third in 26.00 flat.
The Blues placed first in both relays to help bridge the gap in the team standings. Everett Smith, Dans, Ethan Fazekas and Mac won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:31.24, while Mac, Graeme Aylward, Gold and Ferraro came from behind to win the 400 medley relay in 3:42.34.
“I thought they stepped up and did a really good job, because really we’re rebuilding,” said MacDonald. “So, the fact that we’re still able to win is quite gratifying for our men’s team. We’re trying to win the national title. To do that, we have to be really sharp.”
Also bringing home golden efforts for their respective squads on day one of championship action was Laurier's Jasmine Raines (1:10.27) and Western's Matthew Loewen (1:00.80) in their respective 100m breastroke events and Lukas Wormald, who took the gold in the men's 400 IM for the Waterloo Warriors (4:23.57).
TEAM STANDINGS AFTER DAY 1:
1. Toronto (375)
2. McMaster (192)
3. Western (166)
4. Waterloo (157)
5. Guelph (112)
6. Laurentian (92)
7. Queen’s (69)
8. Laurier (65)
9. Brock (54)
10. Carleton (29)
11. York (12)
1. Toronto (328.5)
2. Western (217)
3. Waterloo (180)
4. McMaster (119)
5. Queen’s (103)
6. Guelph (98)
7. Laurentian (83.5)
8. Laurier (67)
9. Carleton (56)
10. Brock (42)
11. York (18)
Women’s 200 Freestyle Relay
1. Toronto, 1:41.19 OUA RECORD
(Emily Russell, Rachel Rodé, Sarah Polley, Kylie Masse)
2. Western, 1:43.66
(Charis Huddle, Jessica Code, Joan-Shiao Chen, Katarina Kranjc)
3. Waterloo, 1:46.18
(Jocelyn vanLeeuwen, Jacquelyne Mariano, Ellie Wong, Josie Andres)
Men’s 200m Free Relay
1. Toronto, 1:31.24
(Everett Smith, Matt Dans, Ethan Fazekas, Matthew Mac)
2. Laurentian, 1:32.50
(Matthew Schouten, Samuel Boily-Dufour, Gabriel Fenn, Christopher Eastick)
3. Waterloo, 1:33.07
(Alex Lojko, Peter Li, Maksym Levytskyy, Danyon Chu)
Women 200m Free
1. Rebecca Smith, Toronto, 1:56.07 OUA RECORD
2. Aleksa Gold, Toronto, 1:59.30
3. Georgia Kidd, Toronto, 1:59.65
Men 200m Free
1. Bjoern-Ole Schrader, Toronto, 1:50.66
2. Gaël Chaubet, Toronto, 1:50.68
3. Mitch Ferraro, Toronto, 1:51.89
Women 50m Backstroke
1. Kylie Masse, Toronto, 26.51
2. Rachel Rodé, Toronto, 27.39
3. Eloise Ladyman, Waterloo, 28.79
Men 50m Backstroke
1. Matthew Schouten, Laurentian, 25.72
1. Matthew Mac, Toronto, 25.72
3. Chris Ruus, Toronto, 26.00
Women 100m Breaststroke
1. Jasmine Raines, Laurier, 1:10.27
2. Kelsey Crocker, Toronto, 1:10.76
3. Christina Ji, Waterloo, 1:10.90
Men 100m Breaststroke
1. Matthew Loewen, Western, 1:00.80
2. Steven Lee, Queen’s, 1:01.80
3. Graeme Aylward, Toronto, 1:02.62
Women 100m Fly
1. Rebecca Smith, Toronto, 57.96
2. Hannah Genich, Toronto, 58.54
3. Georgia Kidd, Toronto, 1:01.06
Men 100m Fly
1. Matt Dans, Toronto, 54.17
2. Josh Gold, Toronto, 54.51
3. Osvald Nitski, Toronto, 54.80
Women 400 IM
1. Kate Rendall, Toronto, 4:52.71
2. Riley Konrad, Laurentian, 4:58.23
3. Courtney DeCarlo, Western, 5:00.22
Men 400 IM
1. Lukas Wormald, Waterloo, 4:23.57
2. Sebast Paulins, Western, 4:27.48
3. Will Morley, Toronto, 4:30.97
Women 400 Medley Relay
1. Toronto, 4:05.94 OUA RECORD
(Aleksa Gold, Kelsey Crocker, Kylie Masse, Ainsley McMurray)
2. Waterloo, 4:10.66
(Eloise Ladyman, Christina Ji, Josie Andres, Jocelyn vanLeeuwen)
3. McMaster, 4:17.81
(Veronica Nichol, Anna Kvedaras, Megan Romkes, Isabelle Lei)
Men 400 Medley Relay
1. Toronto, 3:42.34
(Matthew Mac, Graeme Aylward, Josh Gold, Mitch Ferraro)
2. Western, 3:43.20
(Matthew Klahsen, Matthew Loewen, Elias Chappell, Brent Waddell)
3. Guelph, 3:49.89
(Samuel Kuntz, Lucas Liberty, Rafel Rodrigo Rozo, Ahmed El Maghawry)