The youth movement was on full display for the Martlet and Redmen swimming teams this past Saturday at the second RSEQ University Cup meet of the year held at McGill’s Memorial Pool. The Martlets, who have nine rookies, finished second on total points while the Redmen, who have 10 rookies, finished in third.
Team captain Simone Cseplo, junior Katerina Cardi, and rookie Rebecca Gillis led the way with two medals each for the Martlets, who are coming off a ninth place finish at CIS Nationals last year. Cseplo placed second in the 200m freestyle (2:02.59) and qualified for the National Championships. She also combined with Jennifer Henderson, Cardi, and Katie Caldwell for a silver in the 4 x 100m freestyle (3:58.21). Caldwell, one of two seniors for the Martlets and a former RSEQ swimmer-of-the-year, is optimistic about her team’s outlook for season.
“The team this year is really young and it’s a very different dynamic […] but it’s bringing a good vibe to the team,” she said. “I know on everyone’s mind is bringing home banners at provincials [….] That’s definitely our goal. It’s very possible this year, we have a great team.”
Although the Martlets had a strong showing this weekend, individual University Cup meets during the regular season have little effect on the final RSEQ standings. Instead, the primary focus is on sharpening the technical aspect and taking steps to be successful later in the year.
“Every cup meet is focused on trying to get the qualification and trying to get as many people at the CIS standard,” Caldwell explained. “Because they are all in-season meets we’re not really tapering down for them [….] It’s hard to be swimming at best times so we’re just trying to push as a team […] to win the battles to get qualified.”
17-year-old freshman Kade Wist was sensational on the Redmen side, finishing with two golds and two silvers as the highest-scoring swimmer of the meet. Wist, who had three gold medals in the first University Cup meet of the year, is quickly cementing himself as one of the best swimmers in the RSEQ despite being far younger than his competitors.
“I try and not to think about it,” Wist said about the age difference. “I just try and focus on getting my hand on the wall.”
William Dixon, another rookie, finished with a silver and a bronze while junior David Whiteside also finished with two medals. Only four Redmen swimmers qualified for last year’s National Championships where they placed 12th. This year, with only one senior on the team, the Redmen have the potential to lay the foundation for something special over the coming years
“We’re looking to become a dominant force at the CIS level and just place higher and higher every year,” Wist said. “Personally I’d like to make a final and then compete for a medal at CIS.”
The McGill swimmers will make the short trip to Outremont for their next meet as the Montreal Carabins host the third leg of the University Cup on Nov. 7.
“Training with an injury is always a challenge. It’s mentally hard and it’s physically hard. Going into this last year […] I’m just trying to push through for these last six months […] and have fun” – Caldwell on battling through injuries during her junior year.
Stat of the meet
McGill’s combined score was 185, just one point behind the Laval Rouge et Or, pushing the home team to third best in the meet.
Moment of the meet
In a hotly contested 100m butterfly race, Wist held off Pascal-Hugo C. Cantin of the Rouge et Or by just a hundredth of a second .