Sea-Hawks eye the podium

John
John Browne
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Corner Brook’s Nicholas Sparkes and the Memorial University Sea-Hawks swim team will play host to the Atlantic University Sport conference championships this weekend at the Aquarena. It’s the first time since 1984 — and just the second time ever — that MUN has played host to the event.  

MUN Hosting Atlantic University Sport conference championship for first time in 30 years

The Memorial Sea-Hawks are expecting to challenge for second place on the men’s side of the 2014 Subway Atlantic University Sport (AUS) swimming championships which are set to open this morning at the Aquarena in St. John’s.

That’s according to coach Aaron Dahl who feels the team has a pretty good combination of rookies along with others who have some experience.

“We have a really strong group of first-year athletes like Gavin Dyke who have supported us quite well, but along with returning athletes like second-year David Haines (from Conception Bay South) and third-year Peter Gregory (from Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s). Those types of guys are able to get themselves either into the A final or on the podium,” said Dahl.

“On top of that, other first-year students such as Leo Froude (St. John’s), Nicholas Sparkes (Corner Brook) and Ryan George (Deer Lake) have done a great job in the first couple of AUS invitationals of getting themselves in to the A finals.”

“For us, we’re limited to the number of athletes that can travel due to our budget, but when we host that gives us the latitude to dress more swimmers.

“We’ve been in the hunt for second place in the first two invitational meets and we feel that with our whole roster in place we should be able to secure second spot as far as the men’s team goes.”

In terms of the MUN women’s team expectations, Dahl said, “the team’s strength is the sum of their parts.

“We’re hopeful that some of the role players can step up and make some finals, contribute on the relays and score us some points,” said Dahl.

The MUN coach said leaders on the women’s squad are Becca Dyer of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s (sprint freestyle and backstroke), Dayna Hogan of Kippens (sprint freestyle and backstroke) and Lesley-Marie Lahey of Mount Pearl (distance freestyle).

Dahl said look for Clarenville’s Mykala Pardy, Deer Lake’s Jenny Stark and possibly Sarah Tremblett of St. John’s to contribute with some strong relay performances

“Lahey and Dyer have been on the AUS podium already this season and Hogan is a perennial finalist,” said the MUN coach.

In an interview with The Telegram earlier this week, Dahl said it’s an advantage to be swimming in St. John’s because of the support the team hopes to get from fans, family and friends.

“It’s pretty exciting for us, all around,” said Dahl.

It’s only the second time Memorial has played host to the AUS swim championships. The last time was in 1984 when the host men’s team won the crown.

“This is the first time in 30 years young swimmers in Newfoundland and Labrador will be exposed to some very high-calibre swimming, including some national-level swimmers.”

Dahl noted that Dalhousie’s David Sharpe competed for Canada in the 200-metre butterfly at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Dalhousie Tigers are the reigning AUS champions and are currently ranked seventh (women) and eighth (men) in the country.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Memorial Sea-Hawks competitors, with their age in brackets, and events (all distances in metres):

WOMEN

Sara Dawe (19): 50, 100, 200-metre backstroke; 50 freestyle

Rebecca Dyer (18): 50, 100, 200 free; 100 back,

Dayna Hogan (23): 50, 100, 200 free; 100 back

Miya Janes-Green (21): 50, 100 back; 50, 100 free

Lesley-Marie Lahey (18): 100, 200, 400, 800 free

Mykala Pardy (21): 50 back; 50 butterfly; 50,100 free

Kaitlyn Smith (18): 50, 100, 200 back; 50 free,

Jenny Stark (19): 100, 200 breaststroke; 400 individual medley

Sarah Tremblett (20): 50, 100 fly; 50,100 free

MEN

Gavin Dyke (18): 100, 200, 400 free; 400 IM,

Reniel Engelbrecht (20): 50 back; 50, 100 fly; 50 free

Leo Froude (18): 400 IM; 400 free; 200 fly; 1,500 free

Ryan George (18): 50, 100, 200 back; 100 fly

Peter Gregory (20): 50, 100, 200 back; 200IM

David Haines (19): 50, 100, 200 back; 200 free

Richard Hibbs (22): 50, 100, 200 breast; 100 free

Sam Leawood (18): 50 fly; 50 free; 100, 200 free

Benoit Leblanc (18): 40, 100, 200 breast; 200 IM

Brandon McKay (21): 50, 100, 200 breast; 50 free

Nicholas Sparkes (18): 50, 200 fly; 200, 400 IM

•••

EVENT SCHEDULE

Friday

10 a.m., Preliminaries

5 p.m., Opening ceremonies

6 p.m., Finals

Saturday

10 a.m., Preliminaries

6 p.m., Finals

Sunday

10 a.m., Preliminaries

6 p.m., Finals

8 p.m., Closing ceremonies, major awards presentations

(The event will be webcast live at www.AUStv.ca)

Organizations: Hosting Atlantic University, The Telegram

Geographic location: Portugal Cove, Deer Lake, Corner Brook Mount Pearl Newfoundland and Labrador Canada Leawood

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