Second-year Vike Eric Hedlin led the way for the University of Victoria on Day 1 of the Canada West Swimming Championships in Edmonton, picking up a gold medal in the 1,500-metre freestyle to kick off the three-day event on a high note.
Hedlin’s gold came in the second race of the finals, as he beat out UBC’s Jonathan Brown and Keegan Zanatta for top spot. The San Diego native finished just under 10 second ahead of Brown to secure the victory and earn UVic a big 20 points in the competition.
The other medal of the day for the Vikes came from rookie Danielle Hanus, who broke the Canada West 50-metre backstroke record in the heats before winning silver in the finals. The eventual winner, UBC’s Ingrid Wilm, broke Hanus’ short-lived record with a time of 27.26 in the finals.
While Hedlin and Hanus were the only medal-winners for UVic, the Vikes had a number of finishes just off the podium.
Kaitlin Gervais had another solid Canada West Championship performance, coming fourth in the 800-metre freestyle. Jon McKay, who won gold at last year’s CIS Championships in the 1,500-metre freestyle, finished fourth with a time of 15:37.24.
Both the men’s and women’s 4 x 200-metre freestyle relay teams also came in fourth place on Day 1. The women’s team was made up of Gervais, Hanus, Victoria Mock and Jennifer Reeves while the men’s team featured Josh Zakala, Brett Zollen and Hedlin and McKay
Zollen and Buzz Mallender turned in top-ten performances, qualifying for the U Sports Championships in the process. Zollen finished sixth in the 50-metre breaststroke while Mallender came eighth in the 50-metre backstroke.
The Vikes entered the championship with six competitors already qualified for the U Sports Championship in 2017, and head into Day 2 expecting more swimmers to join that list.
800-m Freestyle: 4th – Kaitlin Gervais (8:52.86), 9th – Victoria Mock (9:03.47), Taylor Snowden-Richardson (9:13.56), Jennifer Reeves (9:20.24), Anna Letkeman (9:32.94)
50-m Butterfly: 21st – Allison Hampton (30.49)
50-m Backstroke: 2nd – Danielle Hanus (27.76)
50-m Breastroke: 12th – Kara Wilson, 17th – Andrea Farmer (35.08), Juliana Bartemucci (35.49)
800-m Freestyle: 4th – Danielle Hanus, Jennifer Reeves, Victoria Mock, Kaitlin Gervais
1500-m Freestyle: 1st – Eric Hedlin (15:14.20), 4th – Jon McKay (15:37.24), 12th – Christopher Deegan (16:18.27), 14th – Justin Howe (16:26.11), 15th – Jake Beyak (16:29.13)
50-m Butterfly: 16th – Zander Glatz (26.24), 31st – Bryce Molder (27.49)
50-m Backstroke: 8th Buzz Mallender (26.01), 11th – Josh Zakala (26.60), 15th – Sebastien Michaud (27.30)
50-m Breastroke: 6th – Brett Zollen (28.90), 10th – Aidan Thirkell (29.38), 14th – Bailey Espersen (29.82), 15th – Baylee Munro (30.36)
800-m Freestyle: 4th – Josh Zakala, Brett Zollen, Eric Hedlin, Jon McKay
TEAM STANDINGS – After Day 1
8. Thompson Rivers