The Western Mustangs women’s and men’s swimming teams swam their way into second and third place at the Ontario University Athletics championships in Toronto last weekend.
The women put up 666.5 points in the final team standings, while the men scored 588.
“I’m very pleased with the performance of the team over the [championship,]” said head coach Paul Midgley. “We had a fair number of lifetime best times which is an accomplishment considering our abbreviated season.”
The Mustangs were only given six weeks to train for the meet because of coronavirus health and safety restrictions announced in January.
The women’s team placed seven times in singles events, with two first place finishes. Second-year student Ella Rennie came first in the women’s 200 individual medley, and first-year Shona Branton and second-year Megan Deering placed first and third in the women’s 50 metre breast.
The women’s team competition won five medals, with fifth-year Joan-Shiao Chen helping the Mustangs place in three events — 4x50 free relay, 400 medley relay and 400 free relay.
“I’m so thankful to my coaches and teammates who have supported me the last five years and to the Mustangs student-athlete community for helping me achieve my goals in and out of the pool,” said Chen.
Chen was awarded with the female community service award following the tournament. Fifth-year Sebastian Paulins was also one of the five swimmers granted an award of distinction.
Paulins competed for the Mustangs in six events at the OUA championships, placing in each competition. The student-athlete earned three gold and three silver medals over the weekend.
“It was a great ending to my OUA career [by] capturing gold in the 1500 metre free and silver in the 4x100 free on the final day with my teammates,” said Paulins. “There is no other way I would’ve wanted to finish the meet.”
The men’s single competitors placed five times in the tournament, with Paulins also taking first place in the 400 metre free event.
The men’s team events resulted in four placements, coming first in the 800 free relay program. Despite their success in the tournament, it was not enough to capture first place from the host and reigning champions, the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.
Chen and Paulins are both Mustangs veterans, having given five years to Western’s swimming program. This swim meet was the last OUA event of the two Mustangs’ careers.
“I’m excited to see what’s next for all of the young swimmers on our team who will continue the Western swimming legacy,” said Chen.