Samuel Wang of Sherbrooke, Que., and Bradley Crocker of Calgary, each won four gold medals over the weekend as McGill U captured their first Quebec university men’s swim title since 2003, at the RSEQ championships, Sunday.
The Redmen broke six records and produced 23 podium finishes during the three-day meet, collecting eight golds, six silvers and nine bronze medals. The Martlets reached the podium 13 times, winning two golds, five silvers and six bronzes. The McGill women beat out third-place Laval for the fifth straight meet, finishing a solid second to Montreal in the final league standings.
Two members of the Redmen qualified for Nationals, upping McGill’s tally to 14 men and 14 women qualifiers for the U SPORTS championships, slated for the University of Toronto, Feb. 22-24.
McGill also received three of the conference’s major honours handed out at the awards gala. Peter Carpenter of Dorval, Que., was named men’s coach of the year, while David Brenken, an engineering freshman from Toronto, earned male rookie-of-the-year status and Simone Cseplo, a fifth-year senior from Toronto, merited the conference’s female award for leadership and citizenship. She spent two years as team captain and spearheaded a fundraising campaign that generated about $4,000.
“First and foremost I am thrilled for our athletes to have achieved their primary goals at the beginning of the season, for the men to win the league title and the women to beat Laval,” said Carpenter. “Not only did we have success at every meet over the entire season but we were able to do it at the championship meet as well and that makes it more gratifying. I am blown away at our team size going to Nationals — our biggest number ever to qualify. I have to say that I was pretty cocky when I started coaching at McGill in the fall of 2009. I thought that within a couple of years we would be winning banners on a regular basis. It has been a lesson in humility and perseverance. It really takes a special group to win one of these things and I have been really blessed this year with just that.”
Wang, a 5-foot-10, 153-pound sprinter, ended up with six medals overall, which tied a meet high. His weekend haul included race victories in the 50-metre butterfly (24.09 seconds), 100 fly (53.84), 4×50 medley relay and the 4×100 medley relay. The 21-year biochemistry sophomore also collected a pair of bronze medals — his only non-gold performances in 22 finals over the entire season — in the 50 and 100 backstrokes.
Crocker, a first-year master’s student in kinesiology, won the 50 backstroke (25.66) and was part of three winning relays, including the aforementioned 4×50 MR and the 4×100 MR, as well as the 4×100 free.
Of the team’s six records, three fell in the 4x50m medley relay, which was clocked at one minute, 40.02 seconds. That broke the RSEQ record (1:40.36) and the McGill record (1:43.03). Also, on the leadoff leg of that race, Crocker broke the McGill mark in the 50 backstroke, touching the wall in 25.36. The previous standard of 25.41 had stood since Alexandre Pichette accomplished it in 2003.
McGill also set new standards in the 4×50 freestyle relay with a time of 1:31.55 to break both the RSEQ (1:31.59) and McGill (1:31.96) records in one fell swoop. The McGill mark had stood since 2015. The foursome featured Brandon Freiberger, an electrical engineering sophomore from Ladner, B.C., who also qualified for Nationals with his leadoff time. He was followed by junior William Dixon of Oakville, Ont., senior Gabriel Fortin of Brossard, Que., and freshman Marius Collin, a native of Marseille, France, who swam the anchor leg.
Collin, a 6-foot-4, 160-pound architecture major, won gold medals in three relays. He qualified for Nationals in two events, accomplishing the feat in the 50m freestyle (23.01) and on the leadoff leg of the 4×100 free.
The school’s six-year old record in the 4×100 medley relay also fell with Redmen touching the wall in 3:40.23, smashing the old mark of 3:42.06, which had been in the McGill books since 2012. Crocker swam the leadoff leg with the backstroke, followed by junior Jason Galet (breaststroke) of Montreal, Wang and Kade Wist (freestyle) of Calgary.
Wist, an economics junior, collected six medals, including three golds, two silvers and a bronze. He reached the top of the podium in the 200 butterfly (2:00.76) and was part of two winning relays.
Rounding out the Redmen gold medals, all in the relays, was Freiberger (2 golds, 1 silver, 1 bronze) and Galet, a computer science major who racked up a pair of golds along with three bronzes.
For the Martlets, Jessica Warrack of Calgary, and Ella Milloy of Victoria, B.C., both produced gold medal swims. Warrack, a 21-year-old chemical engineering senior, reached the podium six times, including gold in the 400 IM (4:52.81), to go along with a pair of silvers and three bronzes. Milloy, an 18-year-old Arts freshman, won the 200 back in 2:16.13 and also grabbed a pair of bronzes.
The Redmen scored 297.5 points in the meet to beat out the Montreal Carabins (265), Laval (162), Sherbrooke (60.5) and UQTR (8). It was the team’s fourth meet victory in the conference’s five meets and in the combined scoring over the season, the Redmen captured the banner with 217.1 points, finishing ahead of Montreal (198.5), Laval (119.6), Sherbrooke (44.2) and UQTR (4).
On the women’s side, the Martlets finished second, behind Montreal and ahead of Laval, for the fifth straight meet. The Carabins collected 343 points in the meet, to finish ahead of McGill (186), Laval (168), UQTR (65) and Sherbrooke (33). The final season standings for the championship had Montreal scoring 262.9 points, followed by McGill (140), Laval (113.5), UQTR (44.4) and Sherbrooke (24.4).