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Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Day 4: Ottawa athletes strike gold in the pool and win big in basketball

(This article was first sent to subscribers of the Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Daily Newsletter. Sign up to receive it, for free, here.)

By Mark Colley, Dan Plouffe, Martin Cleary, Charlie Pinkerton & Adamo Marinelli

The heat was stifling and the rain was frustrating, but another day of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games is in the books with Ottawa taking home five new medals thanks to success in swimming.

Julie Brousseau followed up her gold-medal finish in the 4×200-metre relay on Sunday with another gold in the 400-metre IM. She also won bronze in the 100-metre freestyle, while fellow Ottawa swimmer Grace Lu took home gold in the 50-metre breaststroke with a time of 33.36.

Katie Xu of the Nepean Riptides Special Olympics won gold in the 50-metre breaststroke Special Olympics and silver in the 100-metre freestyle Special Olympics.

Unlucky sevens

The Ontario women’s rugby sevens team got off to a rough start, losing 19-0 to Nova Scotia in their first action of the Games.

Ottawa’s Rachel Callum saw action in the first match and said the nerves of the moment got to the team.

“We weren’t really looking up,” Callum said. “We just needed to get a sense of the field and actually play to where the gaps were. I think we were just overwhelmed a bit.”

Rachel Callum, right, during Ontario’s rugby sevens match against Nova Scotia. [Photo by Mark Colley]

She said the key to Ontario’s success would be making passes, which the team was able to do in their second game of the day. They beat New Brunswick 15-0.

Callum, 18, started playing rugby in Grade 9 at Glebe Collegiate Institute. She originally played soccer but her friend convinced her to try rugby.

It wasn’t love at first sight, though. Callum said it took her time to fall in love with the sport that has taken her to OFSAAs, U18 Tropical Sevens, U18 New York Sevens and now the Canada Games.

“I just found it really hard at first and I think that’s pretty common for rugby,” Callum said. “It took me a while to actually enjoy it, because that meant me actually getting good at it.”

Callum plays club rugby with the Ottawa Irish after previously competing with the Bytown Blues. She said she’s enjoyed getting to play against other provincial teams for the first time in more than two years.

Callum has also enjoyed trading the social currency of the athletes’ village — pins.

“It’s a good way to instigate a conversation with another province,” she said.

Ontario will play two more matches today to wrap up its pool play. The top three teams from each pool advance into the playoffs.

Big wins in basketball and lacrosse

Ottawa athletes swept their other team sports, taking home wins in women’s box lacrosse and basketball.

In lacrosse, Ontario built off a resounding 5-0 win over British Columbia on Sunday with a 10-2 victory against Nova Scotia. Manotick’s Tristan Thompson had one assist in the game.

The win propels Ontario to the top of the pool A standings.

Tristan Thompson, left, during Ontario’s box lacrosse game against Nova Scotia. [Photo by Mark Colley]

“It’s a great group of girls and we worked so hard for this goal,” Thompson said. “We’re just happy to see it being achieved.”

That work included extra practices and five-kilometer runs every week, Thompson said. So far, it’s paying off, as Ontario and Manitoba are the only undefeated teams.

Ontario will face Alberta today at 2 p.m. at the Canada Games Park. Alberta nearly pulled off a four-goal comeback against British Columbia yesterday but ultimately lost 7-4.

Still, despite the fact that Team Ontario has already beaten soundly just beat Alberta, Thompson isn’t taking anything for granted.

“Every game’s different. We’re gonna go in with an open mind and see what happens.”

In basketball, the Ottawa trio of Achol Akot, Catrina Garvey and Jessica Wangolo put on an impressive display in a 95-47 win over PEI. Garvey said it was a “joy” to play with her teammates at the next level.

Catrina Garvey during Ontario’s basketball game against PEI. [Photo by Mark Colley]

“We just continue to get closer with one another,” Garvey said. “It’s a good bonding experience for us and it’s funny because we haven’t gotten sick of each other yet.”

It looks as if there will be plenty more bonding opportunities to come, as Ontario put up the second-most single-game points at the Games so far. Monday wasn’t always a blowout, though, with PEI hanging with Ontario until halfway through the second quarter.

Garvey said the ability of the team to bounce back from a rough start demonstrates their potential when firing on all cylinders.

“That shows how much we can improve to get to the finish,” Garvey said. “We lacked a little bit of communication and we just needed to work a little more together on the defensive end.”

Ontario will play Manitoba, which won its first game 101-28 over the Northwest Territories, at 1 p.m. today at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.

Don’t rain on my parade

In other Monday action, Xander Woodford finished 13th in the cross country mountain bike race with a time of 1:14:02. The 17-year-old trains with coach Evan McNeely and said he got into the sport because of his dad.

While Anna-Raphaëlle Serghi and Ray Xie were expected to play British Columbia in mixed team tennis, the event was rained out after its first two matches. Ontario will be back at 9 a.m. tomorrow with a matchup against Quebec at the Welland Tennis Club.

The day ahead

After a big 7-0 win over the Northwest Territories on Sunday, the Ontario men’s soccer team will return to the field with a 4:30 p.m. matchup against Saskatchewan.

Past West Ottawa Soccer Club provincial champ Jason Hartill played all 80 minutes of Sunday’s game, persevering through the intense heat at Youngs Sportsplex in Welland, Ont. He said the game plan for Tuesday is to attack Saskatchewan the same way they attacked the Northwest Territories — after all, after winning by seven, what would you change?

“We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing,” Hartill said. “We want nothing less than gold. That’s why we’re here.”

The first wrestling events of the Games will get underway at the Canada Games Park. Renfrew’s Lilah Fraser of Pathway Wrestling Club and Ottawa’s Laila Seed-Desai of Carleton Wrestling will compete in women’s team wrestling, while Ottawa’s Kai Harada of National Capital Wrestling Club will face off in the men’s event.

The women’s team is scheduled to compete at 9 a.m. against PEI, 1 p.m. versus Nova Scotia and 4 p.m. against Nunavut. The men’s team will play at 10:30 a.m. versus the Yukon, 2:30 p.m. against Nova Scotia and 5:30 p.m. versus Newfoundland.

You can follow all the action via live stream at

(This article was first sent to subscribers of the free Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Daily Newsletter. Sign us to receive it below!)

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