Mac swimmers bring impressive credentials to national finals

The McMaster swim team seems to be peaking at the right time as it prepares for the Canadian Interuniversity Sports championships, Feb. 23-25 at the University of Montreal.

Mac will send a contingent of eight men and12 women who have qualified for the CIS meet, trying to build on the momentum of an outstanding showing at last week’s Ontario University Athletics finals, where the men took the team silver medal and the women captured the team bronze medal.

The weekly CIS Top 10 has the Mac women ranked No.8 in Canada, while the men jumped up to No. 6, the team’s highest national position under coach Andrew Cole.

Individually, McMaster swimmers won eight gold medals and broke 27 team records.

Cole is optimistic about the nationals and says Cameron Bailey is someone to watch. His performance at the provincial finals earned Bailey the OUA Male Swimmer of the Year award, after he won four gold medals and helped set an OUA record in the 400M freestyle relay, with teammates Michael McDonald, Matthew Vogelzang, and Konrad Bald. The McMaster foursome shattered its own OUA record by a staggering five seconds.

Bald is also hitting his stride at the right time as he won gold and broke the OUA record in the 50M breaststroke.

Bailey is currently the top rated swimmer in Canada for the 200M individual medley, and is top-rated in CIS for the 200m freestyle. Bald will head to the nationals as the second-ranked swimmer in CIS for the 50M breast, while the 400m free relay team is top-ranked in CIS.

Mac’s women are promising and ready to make a big splash in Montreal. Sarah Taylor broke the OUA record for the 50M freestyle in the preliminaries, only to see the record broken again in the final by Western’s Hayley Nell, who edged out Taylor for the gold medal, in a race where both of the top two finishers broke the record in the final. Taylor was one of seven Marauders who garnered OUA all-star recognition.

The 2012 McMaster CIS Swimming qualifiers includes: Louisa Chan, Emily Fung, Virginia Hetherington, Kieran Leiw, Erin MacFadyen, Jessica Mackenzie, Lynnaea Mulligan, Margaret Sloan, Natasha Strass-Hundal, Sarah Taylor, Sara Thompson, Alexandra Vanommen, Cameron Bailey, Konrad Bald, Ian Blechta, Moustafa Ghonim, Michael MacDonald, John Rasmussen, Ben Stubbs, and Matt Vogelzang.