The Gee-Gees swim team was aiming for more U SPORTS national championship qualifiers at the Neptune International event this weekend in Montreal and three men's team members came through with the times needed. In addition, three team records were broken including the longest standing record on the board.
Breaststroke specialist William Barrett set two new team records, starting with his performance in the 50m breaststroke on Saturday. His time of 28.41 more than edged Montana Champagne's 2018 mark of 28.76, and he followed that up by smashing his own record in the 100m breaststroke, lowering it by .95 seconds to 1:01.31. Barrett, who is a second-year criminology student from Guelph, Ont., had established the record at 1:02.26 earlier this season. He now holds two Gee-Gees records, both in the breaststroke, and he also won the 200m breaststroke event at the Neptune.
Mackenzie Finkbeiner broke the oldest standing team record, swimming to a time of 17:09.13 in the 1500m freestyle. That topped the previous record which has stood since 2010 when Nicole Lachance swam a 17:16.22, and is the first team record for Finkbeiner. The fifth-year Gee-Gee is swimming again this season after being injured for what would have been her fifth year last season. The product of Burlington, Ont., Finkbeiner is studying for a Master's of Environmental Sustainability and is an Academic All-Canadian.
The three U SPORTS qualifiers are Thomas Boyd (200 free), James Steele (400 IM), and Noah Wagner (400 IM, 200 breast). Steele and Wagner went 1-2 in the 400 IM, with Steele touching the wall at 4:25.23 to qualify. Wagner's 200 breaststroke qualifying time came in the heats, where he had the third fastest time at 2:17.39. Thomas Boyd clocked in at 1:50.27 for his qualifier in the 200 free, and also came second in the 100 free and 100 back. Connor Symth won the 100 back for the Garnet and Grey.
All three new qualifiers from the weekend are first-years on the Gee-Gees team, as is Smyth. The Gee-Gees now have 17 team members with qualifying times for the U SPORTS National Championships, which will be held at the University of Victoria, Feb 20-22.
Full results from the Neptune International are available online.