By Kirk Jessome
It was another fantastic year for the women’s swimming team at both the conference and national level, claiming their 17th consecutive AUS championship as well as a ninth place finish at nationals.
The group was dominant in the AUS all season long, coming away with wins in each meet they raced by large margins. The Tigers were led by some familiar names and fresh faces.
Lise Cinq-Mars continued to stand out for the Tigers as a butterfly specialist, winning 15 of the 18 events she raced during the course of the regular season, earning her the AUS swimmer of the year award. Cinq-Mars earned wins in five of her six events at the AUS championship, and earned silver behind teammate Isabel Sarty in the 100m freestyle.
First-year phenome Isabel Sarty also put together a great season as a freestyle specialist, breaking the Dalhousie record in the 200m freestyle multiple times during the year. Sarty collected seven gold medals at the AUS championship to earn her the rookie and swimmer of the championship awards.
Sarty continued to shine at the U SPORTS championships as the top-scoring swimmer from the AUS with seven top nine swims for 83 points in the meet. AUS coach of the year Lance Cansdale says that her performance shows what the Tigers are capable of.
“Isabel, along with others, is continuing to show that Dalhousie swimming can train and compete with the best in the country,” says Cansdale, “She has three to four more years to continue to improve and lead the Tigers to even better rankings nationally.”
Heading into the conference championship the Tigers took victories in all three conference meets without any close calls, and Cansdale says that his group had to be careful that confidence didn’t turn into overconfidence.
“It’s a really fine line between winning and losing as circumstances such as injuries or school issues can affect the actual outcome. That is where our women’s team’s depth and desire to win comes to the forefront.”
The Tigers owned the podium at the AUS championship, finishing with 1043 points over the three days of competition to continue their historic winning streak.
At the national championship, the Tigers had just five swimmers on the women’s side, but those five had the support of the whole team, and represented well to achieve the team’s early season goal.
The team improved their ranking at the end of each day, performing better and better throughout the competition, and Cansdale was impressed with their efforts.
“Everyone contributed to the result, even those who weren’t with us at nationals. The realisation of the goal started in September and after a process that involved 18 women in total was complete, we achieved our outcome. It was very satisfying after the hardship we experienced last year.”
With plenty of talent returning to the roster next season, the Tigers hope to preserve the winning culture of the program both in the conference and at nationals.