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SEASON PREVIEW: Swimming begins RSEQ competition

Ethan Rice.
Ellen Bond

The Gee-Gees swimming team had an historic 2017-18 season and will make history again this year, joining the RSEQ conference and competing against Laval, McGill, Montréal, Sherbrooke, and UQTR on the University Cup circuit. That circuit begins Friday at Sherbrooke, with Ottawa hosting its meet on November 10.

 The RSEQ schedule concludes at Montreal on February 1, three weeks before the U SPORTS national championships, which will be held at UBC this season.

 For Ottawa, the new conference represents a new challenge and head coach Dave Heinbuch, now in his sixth season leading the Garnet and Grey, states plainly what the team's aspirations are. "Our goal is to be the best in the conference. Friday is the first dance and a chance to figure out where we fit. Overall I've been very impressed with our practice sessions, the team is putting in lots of hard work."

 The Gee-Gees men's team which captured bronze medals at the 2018 OUA Championship, has enhanced its depth with a strong recruiting class. "The wildcard is the recruits," says Heinbuch, who has seen the effect of the newest team members pushing his veterans in practice. "The recruits have brought a fresh attitude and the veterans have accepted the challenge that they have laid down." His wildcard reference refers simply to the difference between practice and competition – he knows that the talent is there and if the rookies can perform well in their first university competition, he expects solid results.

 U SPORTS medalists Montana Champagne and Davide Casarin return for uOttawa.

 On the women's side the Garnet and Grey will be slightly shorthanded to open the season as three key members of the team, including two who qualified for Nationals last season are sidelined with injuries. Still, there are points to be earned at Sherbrooke and standout rookie Sara Godon will be one to watch. The Gatineau, Que. product attended Cégep de l'Outaouais before starting her Biomedical Mechanical Engineering degree at uOttawa, and was fourth in the 100m freestyle at the 2018 Canadian Junior Championships.

 OUA individual medallists Delphine Vandal and Mackenzie Finkbeiner return for another campaign.