HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
WEEKEND WRAP: Nepean-Kanata Barracudas Swim Club led the charge as 11 Ottawa athletes representing five different clubs combined for 28 individual, relay and para medals during the Eastern Canadian swimming championships in Pointe-Claire, Que.
And another 10 National Capital swimmers, who also competed in the boys and girls’ 13-15 and men’s and women’s 16-and-over classes, also qualified for ‘A’ finals and competed for medals.
Receiving an impressive showing from its women’s team, the Barracudas finished an impressive third overall in the club standings and placed third in its gender standing.
Etobicoke Swimming was the No. 1 club overall with 3,020.50 points, while host Pointe-Claire was runner-up at 2,765.50 and Nepean-Kanata was third at 1,170.
The four-day championships saw five Ottawa clubs place in the top 40. The other notable club finishes came from Ottawa Y Olympians, 28th at 157 points; Greater Ottawa Kingfish, 29th at 155; Ottawa Swim Club, 33rd at 134; and Ravens of Carleton Swimming, 40th at 108.
The women’s trio of Megan Wheeler, Julie Brousseau and Breckin Gormley powered the Barracudas, unleashing speed and endurance through morning heats and evening finals.
Wheeler excelled in the backstroke, winning the 50- and 100-metre races in 29.66 and 1:03.37 seconds respectively and finishing second in the 200-metre backstroke in 2:16.65. She also captured the 200-metre breaststroke title in 2:40.17.
“It was nice to get that best time,” Wheeler told Swimming Canada about her 50-metre backstroke time. “I was able to clean up a few things from the morning swim, so I was happy with it.”
When it came time to use all four strokes in one race, Wheeler was first in the 400-metre individual medley in 4:54.86 and third in the 200-metre IM in 2:18.22.
Wheeler recorded six personal-best times and was second in the women’s aggregate standings based on her individual placements. She was followed by teammates Brousseau in fourth and Gormley tied for eighth.
Brousseau was the individual-race workhorse as she qualified for 10 ‘A’ finals and finished in the top-five in every individual race except one, earning one gold, two silver and two bronze medals. She could have won another gold medal in the 200-metre breaststroke, but she was disqualified in the ‘A’ final, after producing the fastest qualifying time of 2:34.54.
Her gold-medal performance came in the 100-metre breaststroke in 1:12.43, while her silver medals were collected in the 100-metre freestyle in 56.90 and the 200-metre IM in 2:16.73 and her bronze medals in the 200-metre freestyle in 2:01.26 and the 200-metre butterfly in 2:19.20.
After racing to seven personal-best times earlier this month at the Canadian trials and being named to Canada’s Junior Pan Pacific Championship team this summer, Brousseau also had fourth-place results in the 200-metre backstroke in 2:18.25, the 100-metre butterfly in 1:02.67 and the 50-metre breaststroke in 33.33. She was fifth in the 50-metre butterfly in 28.49 as well.
Gormley reached two ‘A’ finals, winning the 100-metre butterfly by six-one-hundredths of a second in 1:01.70. She also was seventh in the 200-metre freestyle in 2:09.48.
In the relays, Wheeler, Brousseau and Gormley set fire to the water. They raced with Ella Moustgaard to win the 4×100-metre medley relay in 4:15.87 and were second in the 4×200-metre freestyle relay in 8:32.13. Wheeler, Brousseau, Gormley and Maizie Moustgaard placed second in the 4×100-metre freestyle relay.
On the men’s side for the Barracudas, Alejandro Giggey qualified for five ‘A’ finals and emerged with the bronze medal in the 200-metre breaststroke in 2:24.12. He also was fifth in the 100-metre breaststroke in 1:06.25 and seventh in the 50-metre breaststroke in 30.89 and the 200-metre IM in 2:13.97. Giggey qualified fourth for the 400-metre IM final, but was disqualified in the ‘A’ final.
Ottawa Y Olympians had two reasons to celebrate as Grace Lu and para swimmer Nicholas Scott made multiple trips to the medal podium.
Competing in the girls’ division, Lu was a triple medallist in breaststroke, winning over 100 metres in a personal-best 1:12.79 and earning bronze medals over 50 metres in 33.15 (PB) and 200 metres in 2:39.78, a time which would have placed her third in the women’s race. She set her best-ever time in the 200-metre breaststroke during heats at 2:37.71.
Lu placed fifth overall in the girls’ aggregate standings.
Scott was the only para swimmer from Ottawa at the Eastern Canadian championships and won silver medals in the 100-metre butterfly in 1:16.86 and the 200-metre IM in 2:45.62 as well as bronze in the 100-metre freestyle in 1:07.07 and the 100-metre breaststroke in 1:39.65.
Ottawa Swim Club’s Gabriel Tejada spread his six personal-best times over the heats, ‘A’ finals and relays and placed second overall in the men’s aggregate standings.
Tejada was first in the men’s 50- and 100-metre butterfly tests with respective times of 24.37 and 54.84. He also was third in the 200-metre fly in 2:05.48, seventh in the 100-metre backstroke 1:01.87 and ninth in the 50-metre backstroke in 28.49.
“The first 50 metres felt pretty smooth. I was also happy with my kick at the turn,” Tejada told Swimming Canada about his 100-metre butterfly race. “But I was a little tight as I approached the finish, the time could have been better.”
Olivier Risk of Ravens of Carleton Swimming was second in the boys’ 200-metre freestyle in 1:56.86 as well as fourth in the 400-metre freestyle in 4:09.35, sixth in the 400-metre IM in 4:44.71 and ninth in the 100-metre freestyle in 54.26. He tied for eighth place in the boys’ individual aggregate.
Keaton Zhou of GO Kingfish finished third in the boys’ 100-metre breaststroke in 1:08.14.
ONTARIO CUP TITLES FOR FOUR OTTAWA BASKETBALL TEAMS
Four Ottawa basketball teams in the U13 division enjoyed golden weekends at the Ontario Cup championships in Brampton for the girls and the Niagara Region for the boys.
The Ottawa Youth Basketball Academy Petridis team went undefeated in four girls’ division 1 games and claimed the gold medal with a 44-38 decision over Barrie Royals Tutty.
In its preliminary pool, Ottawa Youth defeated Canada Elite VCB 41-21, London Ramblers 38-11 and Sudbury Jam Paris 52-21.
Gloucester Cumberland Wolverines Polomark followed a similar format, winning their three pool games and defeating Pelham Panthers Birrell 50-23 for the girls’ division 3 title.
The Wolverines reached the final with victories over Orillia Lakers Cast 34-18, Canada Elite CSA 35-25 and Thornhill Thunder 55-28.
Ottawa Next Level defeated New Horizon Heat Whitby 75-43 in the boys’ U13 division 9 final, after it roared through its preliminary games 69-22 over Cambridge Centaurs Tasch, 58-28 over Brooklin Elite Red, and 68-31 over MUMBA Black.
The boys’ division 10 final saw Ottawa Shooting Stars Gildenhuys defeat Hall of Fame Academy 64-47. The Stars earned a berth in the final with victories over London Orion, 50-43, and Centre Wellington Celtics, 42-41.
The Gloucester Cumberland Wolverines Mackenzie team captured all three of their boys’ division 3 pool games – 64-49 over London Ramblers, 71-49 over Burlington Force Emuss and 63-50 over South Simcoe Basketball – before earning the silver medal in a 65-54 loss to Durham Rising Suns.
MAVS TAKE BRONZE AT VOLLEYBALL PROVINCIALS
The Maverick Longhorns won the bronze medal in the top tier of the boys’ 16-and-under division at the April 22-24 Ontario Volleyball Championships in Waterloo.
The Mavs played a pair of three-setters on the opening day but came on top of each match to win their preliminary pool. They then dropped their first second-day contest by the minimum 15-13 in the third to Pakmen Black Nathan, but rebounded for straight-set wins over Defensa and Ancaster Lions to reach the championship playoffs.
The Mavs beat Unity Blue 25-23, 25-19 in the quarter-finals, but lost in the semis 25-21, 22-25, 11-15 to KW Predators Legacy before claiming bronze with a solid 25-17, 25-15 victory in a rematch with Ancaster Lions.
Through the first two days of their April 24-26 15U boys’ provincials in Mississauga, the Maverick Brigade have six wins in six matches. They’ll play in top tier playoffs Tuesday.
MICHAEL WOODS PLACES HIGH IN BELGIUM RACES
Ottawa’s Michael Woods continues to produce top-10 results during the annual Ardennes Classic pro cycling races in Belgium.
Last week, the Israel-Premier Tech World Tour team rider placed sixth in the La Fleche Wallonne over 259.1 kilometres and was 10th Sunday in the 257.2-kilometre Liege-Bastogne-Liege marathon.
It was the sixth consecutive year Woods had finished in the top 10 in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race. In previous years, he was fifth in 2021, seventh in 2020, fifth in 2019, second in 2018 and ninth in 2019.
At the La Fleche Wallonne race, he also was fourth in 2021, third in 2020 and had a breakthrough performance with a 12th in 2016.
PAMPHINETTE BUISA & TEAM CANADA DEMOLISH REGIONAL OPPONENTS AT RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS QUALIFIER
Ottawa Irish product Pam Buisa and the Canadian women’s rugby sevens team secured tickets to the 2022 World Cup and the 2022 Commonwealth Games thanks to their dominant run at the regional qualifier on the weekend in the Bahamas.
The Canadian women steamrolled their competition, winning all five of their matches without conceding a single point, including a 33-0 victory over Mexico in the final. In all, Canada outscored their opponents from Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Cayman Islands and Mexico (who they faced twice) by a combined 255-0.
Buisa, 25, made her Olympic debut this past summer, and helped Canada to a ninth-place showing in Tokyo.
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 49 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @martincleary.
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