When asked for an interview by a reporter at poolside during Wednesday’s Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association swimming championships at McMaster University, Martyn Siek said he knew a better place to talk. A spot where the screaming from the enthusiastic fans in attendance at the meet wasn’t going to be as much of a distraction.
“I’ve been here (at Mac) for decades,” Siek said. “I know every nook and cranny of this place.”
An 18-year-old student at Bishop Tonnos, Siek has spent countless hours in the water at Mac as a member of the Hamilton Aquatic Club and, most recently, the Golden Horseshoe Aquatic Club. This year he’s doing a co-op placement at Mac and the university’s swim coach, Andrew Cole, is actively recruiting him to join the talented Marauders squad (currently seventh-ranked by Canadian Interuniversity Sport).
Bishop Tonnos student Martyn Siek (Photo: Melissa Bayliss-Camus)
“I’ve been practising here as long as I can remember,” Siek said. “Sometimes eight or nine times a week, depending on school schedules. I’ve had a long and dedicated history to the sport. I really like it.”
Siek is the defending Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations champion in the 100-metre individual medley (59.3 seconds). And on Wednesday, at the seven-school city competition involving about 250 swimmers, he won three gold medals. His times have qualified for the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference championships at the University of Guelph on Thursday, Feb. 21.
The 2013 OFSAA swimming championships are March 5-6 at the Etobicoke Olympium.
When the 2013 city championships concluded, Siek and his younger brother, Adam, along with a handful of other elite city club swimmers, prepared to travel to Montreal for this weekend’s Eastern Canadian national short-course championships.
“I felt relaxed,” Siek said of his early victories in the 200m freestyle and 100m IM. “I accomplished what I need to accomplish. In Montreal, I hope to make the finals and make a national qualifying time.”
Cole, whose Marauders are preparing for the Feb. 21-23 CIS finals in Calgary, is hopeful of attracting Siek to his hometown school.
“I think we’re first on his list at this point,” Cole said. “He’s a great kid. His attitude seems to blend with the philosophy of our program. He’s so positive. He would be a tremendous fit. Martyn has a very bright future.”
At the team level, the St. Thomas More Knights took the overall title for the 12th time in the past 13 years. Last season, the Bishop Tonnos Titans interrupted that streak of championships.
“Not only do you have to have really good swimmers, you have to have a large team,” said Brian Grajales, the third-year Tonnos coach who served as convenor for Wednesday’s Catholic championships. “The more entries you have the more points you can accumulate. This year at Tonnos we were lacking the numbers we had last year.”
Grajales believes that three or four swimmers from the HWCAA have a good shot at bringing home medals from OFSAA next month.
Some of the swimmers who did not take part in the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic high school event in favour of the Eastern Canadian nationals included Hannah Dvorski of St. Thomas More, Adam Siek of Tonnos, and Kenny MacKenzie of St. Mary.
The HWCAA finale had categories for junior, senior, open and disabled athletes.
According to Grajales, Faith Andrejciw, a Grade 9 swimmer from Bishop Ryan, had a “fantastic year” with multiple victories.
More coach Jessica Dyment referred to last season’s end to the Knights 11-year winning streak as “heart wrenching.”