Allan Zheng in the pool
Allen Zheng in the pool. Photo: Anne-Marie Kaczmarczyk/Provided
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Team looking to win RSEQ championships this season

With many Gee-Gees teams back in the groove, it was time this weekend for the University of Ottawa swimming team to jump back in the pool and begin competition for the 2021 season. 

Like other athletes, the swimming team had to navigate the uncertainties of COVID-19. The pandemic cancelled all the team’s competitions and, for many, their opportunity to train in 2020. 

The lack of a consistent practice schedule was difficult for swimmers, including Allen Zheng, a third-year student on the team. Zheng swims in the 50-metre freestyle, 100-metre freestyle, and also participates in sprint relays. 

“The lockdowns would last for a month or two, and being that long without training is not ideal,” Zheng explained. “It was frustrating being in and out of the water.” 

Over the last few months, between restrictions being lifted and vaccinations becoming mandatory for all U of O athletes, the team has been able to get back on campus and train together. In addition, the team has been able to do more team-building activities. 

“I can tell everyone is dying to get back to racing, and everyone has been working hard these past months to swim fast,” Zheng said. 

For the swim team, the season involves four cup meets and the final (RSEQ) championship. 

In the most recent season of competition, the men’s team earned second place, while the women’s team came in third at the RSEQ championships. This year, the team is looking to win the entire RSEQ championships meet. 

As far as U Sport recognition goes, during the 2019-2020 season, the men’s team placed fifth, while the women’s team placed ninth. 

“Our team is much faster, and we have more depth in terms of multiple swimmers able to score points at multiple events,” Zheng said. “Our meet this Friday is our first meet in a year and a half, and everyone is itching to race again.” 

“There will be a lot of fast swims this week, which is going to be exciting.” 

The Gee-Gees swim team definitely found success on Oct. 8, in their first competition of the season. The women’s team earned second place, while the men came in third. Many Gee-Gees performed well, but Adelle Yamashita-Ball was the star for the team, earning the most points for the U of O. 

The Gee-Gees will compete in three more cup meets at the universities of McGill, Laval, and the University of Quebec’s Trois-Rivières campus. The RSEQ Championship will be held at the U of O’s Montpetit Hall on the weekend of Feb. 4.