Celina Toth was the star of a strong showing from University of Victoria student-athletes at the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei City, TPE.
Toth, a humanities student, picked up a silver medal in the mixed team diving event and a bronze in the 10-metre platform at the international event that is second only to the Olympic Games in the number of participating athletes and countries.
The medals add to Toth’s already impressive career results at the Summer Universiade as she had previously captured gold and bronze at the 2015 games in Gwangju, South Korea.
“Representing Canada is always an incredible experience but being apart of two universiade games there is really nothing like that feeling,” said Toth. “Pursuing an elite level of sport and full-time schooling is super challenging and getting to share this experience; the highs and the lows with other peers all around the world, who understand the time and effort you put in to achieve your goals is comforting to me.”
Toth is a clear example of a student-athlete, training for up to 30 hours a week, missing time due to competitions all while maintaining a busy course load
“At this elite level of sport I’m absent for weeks at a time for competitions causing me to miss classes, assignments or exams and yet still maintain good grades,” said Toth. “It’s very stressful for me, because when I’m away at a competition I want to focus on the sport but I also don’t want to fall behind and it has taken me many years to find a balance between sport, work and school but that balance has allowed me to excel in all areas.”
The medals weren’t the only highlights for UVic at the games, as finals appearances and top-ten finishes were secured both in the pool and on the track.
Master’s of science student Jeremy Bagshaw made it all the way to the final in the 400-metre freestyle swimming competition where he finished in sixth place.
Cole Peterson, a recent graduate of the computer science program and Sarah Macpherson who graduated from UVic with a master’s of science degree led the way on the track as they both made their respective finals in the 1500-metre event before finishing their final race in tenth place.
“(I am) loving the environment, the stadium, all the countries,” said Peterson after qualifying for the final. “Every part of this has been fun and exciting.”
Tyler Smith, pursuing a degree in education and Danielle Hanus, a humanities student, both represented UVic well by qualifying for the semifinals in their respective sports.
Smith’s seventh place finish on the track in the 800-metre semifinal wasn’t quite good enough to see him through to the final while Hanus finished eight in the semifinals of both the 50 and 100-metre backstroke events in the pool.
The two medals won by Toth were a significant contribution to the 13 medals claimed by Canada at the event, five more than Canada came home with from the most recent FISU Summer Games in Gwangju.