Photo: Parker Townes.
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Casarin, Champagne talk this year’s success, look to next year’s competition

The University of Ottawa’s swimming team’s season is over, after completing one provincial and one national competition in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship at the University of Western Ontario and in the U-Sports championship at the University of Toronto in February. Both competitions saw several medals awarded to the Gee-Gees, but no first-place finish for the team on the nation’s biggest stage.

On the second weekend of the month, the Gees travelled to London and swam to a third-place finish in the Men’s competition, collecting 487 points, while the Women’s team ended fourth overall with 431 points. They brought home a total of 14 medals at the tournament: four golds, six silvers, and four bronze. Moreover, Gee-Gee Davide Casarin won the OUA male swimmer award, along with his six medals from the championship. There is still work to do for Ottawa, however, to be able to beat the U of T Varsity Blues, as they celebrated a first-place victory in both Men’s and Women’s competition.

Two weeks later, the focus was on Toronto, host of this year’s U-Sports swimming championship. Ottawa ended 14th in Women’s swimming, while the Men settled with a 10th place finish. In Toronto, the Gee-Gees were able to take back one gold medal, three silvers, and three bronze in the three days of the competition. Here, Casarin won a total of three medals, which was tied with his Gee-Gees teammate Montana Champagne. Overall, Ottawa won a total of 186 points in the Women’s team, while the Men earned 262. Ultimately, in this competition, it was the University of British Columbia who came out on top in both Men’s and Women’s play, as they collected over a thousand points in each, taking home a first-place finish for the second straight season.

Asked about their performance at the championships, Casarin and Champagne said they “have been training for those events for months, particularly the national championship in Toronto.”

“It’s definitely an honour to be able to step on the podium for the Gee-Gees, given the strengths other teams have. It’s good for us, good for the team, it will definitely bring some hype and energy to this team in future events,” Casarin said.

The pair, who swam together at several relay competitions for the Gee-Gees this season, said these games were a great opportunity for them to represent the Gee-Gees in Toronto and London and show what they are capable of, and they are already looking forward to performing again next season.

“The team we need to look out the most for moving forward are the (UBC) Thunderbirds, after they earned a lot of points and ended first overall. They will definitely be on our radar for next year,” Champagne said.

The swimming season will resume next fall. The Gee-Gees don’t know who they will face in their first couple of competitions, or who will host next year’s U-Sports national championship.