Aquatics Universities

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Noah Wagner collects four wins for Team Alpha in uOttawa swimming league meet

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-at-Home Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

By Martin Cleary

Twenty Ottawa and area swimmers are on the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic radar, 16 have received trials’ invites and seven are eyeing the 2021 Tokyo Games.

The modified Canadian Olympic and Paralympic swimming trials are slated for April 7-11 in Toronto, after a three-day, pre-meet training period. There will be a maximum of 20 swimmers in each event.

Strictly following all COVID-19 safety protocols, including physical distancing, all races will be timed finals as each event will have two 10-swimmer competitions. There will be no spectators.

Swimming Canada recently issued its initial list ranking the top 30 athletes in each Olympic event based on long-course race results from Sept. 1, 2018 to Dec. 6, 2020. Trial invitations were sent to the top 20.

The deadline for first-round acceptances was Friday, Jan. 15, and, depending on what races the swimmers select, more invitations could be extended in the second round, beginning Jan. 20.

Eli Wall. File photo

Montana Champagne and Regan Rathwell, both of the Greater Ottawa Kingfish Swim Club, Eli Wall of Toronto Swim Club, Ottawa’s Alexandre Perreault, Smiths Falls’ Bailey Andison of Perth Stingrays Aquatic Club, and Pembroke’s Alyson Ackman of Pointe-Claire S.C. will press for an Olympic berth.

Two-time Paralympian Camille Berube of Natation Gatineau is the only National Capital Region swimmer in the Paralympic swim trials, which will have 44 world-ranked qualifiers.


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Champagne has achieved the FINA B Olympic qualifying time standard in the 400-metre IM (4:21.40) and 200m butterfly (1:59.21), where he’s ranked No. 2 in Canada for both races and is No. 4 in the 200m IM (2:02.09).

“He has had a really good year so far,” said his former University of Ottawa coach Dave Heinbuch. “He’s on the outside a little bit, but we’re hopeful.”

He’s about 2.5 to 3 seconds off FINA A standard in his 200m races.

Wall, a Toronto Titans International Swimming League team member, is No. 2 in Canada in 200m breaststroke (2:12.80) and No. 3 in 100m breaststroke (1:01.70), which are both FINA B standards.

Perreault, who represented Canada at the 2018 world short-course championships and 2019 Universiade, has the B standard in the 100m butterfly (53.47) and is ranked No. 3 nationally.

Andison, who posted good short-course results inside the International Swimming League bubble, is No. 3 and No. 5 respectively in the 200m IM (2:11.33, A standard) and 400m IM (4:45.20, B).

Ackman, a triple medallist at the 2019 Lima Pan-Am Games, has national top-10 rankings in six freestyle races, including five FINA B standards. She’s one to three seconds off the A standard over 100m, 200m and 400m.

Rathwell, who has committed to the University of Tennessee for 2022 and raced the 200m backstroke A final at the 2019 Canadian world championships trials, is ranked No. 5 in 200m back (2:12.39, B), and No. 9 in 100m back (1:01.16, B).

Berube, who competed at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics, is ranked No. 6 in the world in the SM7 class 200m IM. She also will race in S7 backstroke and S6 breaststroke races at the trials.

University of Ottawa Gee-Gees’ Lauren Shearer (200m breaststroke), William Barrett (200m breaststroke), Louis Bertrand (400m freestyle) and Conor Smythe (200m backstroke) will be looking to crack the top 8 at trials.

The top-20 rankings also include five swimmers from the Nepean-Kanata Barracudas Swim Club: Madison Archer, 800m/1,500m freestyle; Mia Zahab, 200m butterfly/400m IM; Megan Wheeler, 200m backstroke; David Quirie, 200m/800m/1,500m freestyle; and Colton Milne, 200m breaststroke.

Hoping for a top-20 promotion after qualified swimmers make their choices are: Gee-Gees’ Adelle Yamashita-Ball, 800m freestyle, and Jamie Demers, men’s 100m breaststroke; Barracudas’ Breckin Gormley, 100m butterfly; and Swim Ottawa’s Gabriel Tejada, 100m butterfly.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for over 47 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.

Martin can be reached by e-mail at martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.

Noah Wagner. Photo: geegees.ca

By Martin Cleary

Sophomore Noah Wagner made a huge splash in the Montpetit Hall pool on the weekend as he orchestrated Team Alpha’s first International Gee-Gees Swimming League win by a decisive 88-62 over Big Cats.

The Regina native not only compiled three individual race wins as well as a relay victory in the six-race men’s program, but also had two personal-best performances, which came in his first two races of the day.

Wagner opened the second leg of the three-session IGGSL schedule, winning the men’s 200-metre butterfly in 2:03.50, bettering his 11-month-old record of 2:03.88. Then, he swam the 50-metre breaststroke in 28.75, which improved his PB from 29.17.

The University of Ottawa human kinetics student also won the men’s 200-metre individual medley in 2:10.43 and ended the program joining Connor Smyth, Matthieu Vilain, Louis Bertrand to take men’s 200-metre medley relay by 4.90 seconds in 1:46.28.

Earlier, Smyth placed first in the men’s 200-metre backstroke, 2:08.70, and Bertrand had the fastest men’s 100-metre freestyle time, 50.94. It was the first time in the short IGGSL history one team had won all six men’s or women’s races in one day.

On the women’s side, Team Alpha won three of six women’s races: Lauren Shearer, 50-metre breaststroke, 33.36; Mayheve Rondeau, 100-metre freestyle, 1:00.16; and Renee Saville, Joanne Diemert, Shearer, Rondeau, 200-metre medley relay, 2:03.60.

Malorie Kanaan was a double winner for Big Cats, taking the women’s 200-metre butterfly, 2:26.85; and the 200-metre individual medley, 2:28.78. Katie Polley notched the other Big Cats’ win in the 200-metre backstroke, 2:23.03.

The four-win effort by Wagner also was a league first for a single meet. Wagner, who learned speed swimming during his six-year residency in California, swam for Saskatchewan at the 2017 Canada Summer Games, scoring two top-10 results.

In his 2019-20 freshman year, Wagner qualified for four races at the 2020 USports national swimming championships and reached two B finals. In RSEQ Cup 4, he earned a bronze medal and helped the Gee-Gees win the men’s team title.

The Dave Hein Bucks remained undefeated, posting their second win by an 84-63 score over winless Guelph Goliaths. Each team recorded three wins in both the women’s and men’s divisions.

Captain Adelle Yamashita-Ball led the Bucks’ charge with 3 victories: the women’s 200-metre butterfly, 2:19.84; 200-metre backstroke, 2:18.08 and 200-metre medley relay with Talea Claassens, Vanessa Bellio and Shaunna Walker-deJong, 2:00.78.

Entering the winners’ circle for Guelph were: Abby Simms, the women’s 100-metre freestyle, 58.23, and 200-metre individual medley, 2:28.63; as well as Megan Sidor, women’s 50-metre breaststroke, 34.73.

Nathan Schiffman was first in men’s 200-metre butterfly, 2:04.27, and Alexandre Perreault captured the men’s 100-metre freestyle, 51.50, for the Bucks. They joined Gordon Forrest and Nicolas Machell to win the 200-metre medley relay, 1:44.73.

The Goliaths men’s wins came from James Steele, the 200-metre backstroke, 2:06.86, and 200-metre individual medley, 2:11.26; as well as Jamie Demers, the 50-metre breaststroke, 30.10. The third and final IGGSL meet is scheduled for Dec. 5.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for over 47 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.

Martin can be reached by e-mail at martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.


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