LONDON, Ont. (from Toronto Varsity Blues) – The University of Toronto Varsity Blues reached the podium 19 times as Day 1 of the OUA swimming championships wrapped up on Thursday night.
Both U of T’s men and women lead the team standings after the impressive showing on Day 1. Toronto’s men are in first place with 313 points, followed by the Western Mustangs (270.5) and Ottawa Gee-Gees (165.5). The Blues women sit atop the team standings with 326 points, ahead of Western (215.5) and McMaster (154).
Fourth-year veteran Kylie Masse led Toronto’s women on Day 1. The 2017 FINA world champion and current world record holder in the 100 backstroke won three races to kick off the championships.
After breaking her own OUA record in preliminaries (26.40), Masse won her fourth career OUA 50 backstroke gold medal in 26.52 seconds to earn the grand slam award for winning the same event four years in her career. The LaSalle, Ont., native will also be vying for a grand slam in the 100 and 200 backstroke events later in the championships.
She followed that up by leading a U of T sweep in the 100 butterfly. Masse bettered her own OUA record to win the gold medal in 57.70 seconds, with teammates Hannah Genich (58.47) and Jess Yu (1:02.39) claiming silver and bronze, respectively.
Masse kicked off the night by anchoring Toronto’s 200 freestyle relay team of Emily Russell, Rachel Rodé and Heather Lam to an OUA record 1:42.04 gold-medal finish.
Lam, Rachael Parsons, Genich and Sarah Polley capped off the night with a first-place finish in the 400 medley relay in 4:08.12.
Rounding out the women’s podium finishes were Polley with a silver medal in the 200 freestyle (2:01.09); Rodé with a silver medal in the 50 backstroke (26.52); Parsons with a bronze-medal finish in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.60); and Jess Cheng with a third-place finish in the 400 IM (4:58.10).
Eli Wall, a fifth-year veteran from Ottawa and soon-to-be Commonwealth Games athlete, claimed his second career 100 breaststroke gold medal in an OUA record time of 1:00.15.
Fellow veteran Kyle Haas won his first career OUA 50 backstroke title, tying the OUA record in 25.05 seconds. The economics major will be vying for his third-straight 100 backstroke gold medal tomorrow.
Dan Kuiack, Cameron Kidd, JP Fontenelle and Mitch Ferarro also won the gold medal in the 200 freestyle relay in a time of 1:31.66, while Haas, Wall, Osvalid Nitski and Kuiack teamed up to win the 400 medley relay in 3:38.88.
Also reaching the podium on Day 1 were Nitski (54.37) and Gael Chaubet (54.65), placing second and third, respectively, in the 100 butterfly; Chaubet with a third-place finish in the 200 freestyle (1:51.07); Kuiack with a third-place finish in the 50 backstroke (25.39); and Will Morley with a bronze-medal placing in the 400 IM (4:30.94).
The championships resume Friday with preliminaries beginning at 10 a.m., followed by finals at 6 p.m.