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CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP: Casarin, Champagne lead Gee-Gees swimmers to historic performance in Vancouver

Davide Casarin swims to silver in 200 free. Photo credit : Rich Lam
Davide Casarin swims to silver in 200 free. Photo credit : Rich Lam

Members of the Gee-Gees men's and women's swimming teams competed in the 2019 U SPORTS National Championship held at the University of British Columbia over the weekend. The Gee-Gees, ranked in the U SPORTS Top 10 all season, turned in a great overall performance, highlighted by a number of podium finishes and a pair of new U SPORTS records.

Over the course of the three-day event, the Gee-Gees teams each finished seventh in their respective overall standings based on an accumulation of points, which marked a new all-time best finish for the women's team. 

Leading the way for the Gee-Gees, as they have done all season, were Montana Champagne and Davide Casarin. Both Champagne and Casarin won medals last season at the 2018 U SPORTS National Championship meet and looked to add to their collection.

Champagne ended his already decorated Gee-Gees swimming career by collecting two gold medals over the weekend, bringing his career total to eight U SPORTS medals, including four gold. The fifth-year Commerce student from Ottawa placed first in the 200m IM final in a time of 2:02.09 setting a new U SPORTS record by more than a second and a new team record, while also finishing first in the 400m IM in 4:24.25 for another team record. Champagne rounded out his impressive meet with a fourth place finish in the 200m butterfly final.

Casarin also turned in a highlight worthy performance over the weekend as he finished the weekend with four medals, two gold and two silver, which adds to the silver and bronze medals he won at last year's Nationals. Winning the gold medal in the 200m butterfly final (2:00.41) was one for the books for Casarin, as he sat in fourth place after the first 150 meters before charging back to take the gold medal and setting a new U SPORTS record by almost a full second. The Mirano, Italy native also won the gold medal in the 400m freestyle final in 3:53.46, while taking home silver medals in the 100m (50.73) and 200m freestyle (1:49.03) finals, all of which were new team records. 

On the women's side, Delphine Vandal ended a fantastic season, that included five medals in this years RSEQ championship meet, by finishing fourth in an incredibly fast 800m freestyle final, with a time of 8:56.78. Vandal and all three medalists finishers swam times under the previous U SPORTS record of 8:58.09 set in 2016.

Also honoured as part of the weekend's festivities were Champagne, Vandal, Pilling, James Cormier, and Stephen Sun as part of a celebration for the graduating athletes from each school who were present at the meet.

Rounding out the top ten finishes for the Gee-Gees over the weekend were: