On Oct. 27, McGill hosted the second RSEQ swimming meet of the season. The men’s team took home a first place finish, while the women came in second. Since Saturday was the only meet that McGill will host this season, these impressive finishes were that much more special for the swimmers.
“It was a lot of fun,” first-year Grace Polkosnik said. “It’s a lot easier to swim when everyone is cheering you on, and there were lots of positive vibes from [the team].”
This meet comes just two weeks after the season opener at Université de Sherbrooke where both the men and women’s teams placed second.
“[We’ve seen] massive improvement,” Head Coach Peter Carpenter said. “Fitness is taking hold, […] and it’s looking great.”
First-year Claire Shewchuk echoed her coach’s sentiment.
“It always gets better later in the season,” she said.“This still isn’t [a meet] we’re resting for, but there’s definitely been improvement.”
Eighteen McGill swimmers have already qualified for the USports National Championships in eight events, including first-year Clement Secchi, who took home three gold medals from Sherbrooke and placed third in the 200m backstroke this weekend. Third-year Sam Wang also qualified for nationals at Sherbrooke. He picked up 579 points for McGill on Saturday and is currently second on the RSEQ points table. On the women’s side, first-year Erin Miller qualified for nationals in the 200m butterfly in Sherbrooke. Coach Carpenter doesn’t want to stop there, though.
“If we can get ten more qualifiers [in the next three weeks], I will be ecstatic,” Carpenter said. “It might seem a little unrealistic to set the goal that high, but that’s what we’re shooting for.”
In the beginning of the season, the swimmers were focused on fitness, but now it’s time for them to start focusing on their individual performances and begin reaching their fastest times of the season.
“At this point, we’re able to be more specific with individual swimmers and the events that they’re going to be swimming,” Carpenter said. “Our first peak meet is in three weeks, […] so we’re excited about that, and that’s what we’re going to be gunning for next.”
Polkosnik had a similar, positive outlook on her season so far and what it means for her in the coming meets.
“I’ve been swimming pretty well recently, so I’m just trying to keep that up,” Polkosnik said. “Honestly I’m just trying to have fun for most of it.”
The rest of the season looks promising for McGill, with those 18 swimmers already qualified for nationals and time for more to join them. McGill swimming hopes to stay at the top of the rankings and will continue to work on individual performances throughout the final four RSEQ meets of the season.
Moment of the meet
During the final relay races, swimmers from each school lined up at the edge of the pool to cheer their teammates on to a strong finish.
“If you look at the results, there are first-years winning medals, which is really exciting. This is their first year of eligibility and they’re only going to get faster.” – Head Coach Peter Carpenter on the team’s potential
McGill had five of the ten top individual scores on the men’s side of the competition this weekend.