Natation | Veteran Bielby on golden pond for eighth time, rookie Caldwell wins silver, collects second CIS medal
McGill swimmers Steven Bielby and Katie Caldwell won gold and silver medals, respectively, on the final day of the 2013 CIS championships at the University of Calgary Aquatic Centre, Saturday.
Swimming in the last official race of a brilliant McGill career, the 22-year-old team captain from Pointe Claire, Que., guided the Redmen to an eighth-place finish out of 22 competing teams. Bielby, who measures 5-foot-9 and weighs 155 pounds soaking wet, won the 200-metre individual medley in two minutes flat, breaking both his own school and RSEQ conference record of 2:00.24, which he set in 2011, also in Calgary.
It was the second race victory of the weekend for the graduate student in electrical engineering, who took the 400 IM (4:15.14) on Thursday. It also marked a McGill best-ever 13th career CIS medal, which includes a school record eight golds, one CIS silver and four bronzes. Bielby merited CIS all-Canadian status for the fourth time and has earned a berth to represent Canada for the third time at the FISU world university games, slated to be held in Russia this summer.
Caldwell, an 18-year-old secondary education freshman from White Rock, B.C., won silver in the 200 IM after capturing bronze in the 400 IM (4:44.83) on Thursday. She was clocked in 2:13.25, well behind Erica Morningstar, the two-time Canadian Olympian from the Calgary Dinos, who crossed the finish line in 2:10.49. Caldwell, who also garnered CIS second-team all-Canadian honours, led the Martlets to an eighth-place finish, an improvement of three spots over the previous year.
Morningstar announced after the race that it would be her final meet as she takes a break from the sport to consider her options moving forward. She joined her Dinos teammates atop the podium one last time by swimming the backstroke leg of Calgary's gold medal-winning medley relay along with Fiona Doyle, Lindsay Delmar, and Amanda Reason.
"We achieved one of our goals here, with both the men and women finishing in the top 10 and while I am satisfied with the results, I am already looking forward to next year, so that we can continue to take things further with this team," said McGill head coach Peter Carpenter. "We will obviously miss having Bielby with us next year! He is completely irreplaceable but we will soldier on and look to our other leaders to try and rise to the standard he has set over the past five years."
Other McGill records to fall over the three-day meet:
- Caldwell completed the 200 free in 2:00.90 on the leadoff leg of the women's 4x200 free relay
- Pierre-Alexandre Renaud, a sophomore from Laval, Que., swam the 200 free in 1:49.70
- the Redmen 4x200 free relay crossed the line in7:24.89 with a quartet consisting of Montrealer Marc-Andre Benoit on the lead-off leg, followed by Bielby, Erik Cheng of Ile Bizard, Que., and Renaud.
The Toronto Varsity Blues put an end to 18 years of western domination, emerging victorious in an extraordinary three-way race to capture the CIS men's title.
In women's action, the UBC Thunderbirds captured their second consecutive national banner with 691.5 points, ahead of the second-place Calgary Dinos (548). But while the women's race was a foregone conclusion through much of the meet as the Thunderbirds kept pulling away, the men's race was a three-way dogfight for the first time in recent memory and it all came down to the final event, the 4x100-metre medley relay.
When the dust had settled, the Varsity Blues found themselves atop the team standings with a 15-point cushion, 539-524 over UBC. Calgary finished just 10 points in arrears of the Thunderbirds with 514 points.
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