Chow, Lei Lead Marauders Women to Bronze at OUA Championships

Photo by Sean Hookey

One brought her OUA career to a triumphant close Saturday, while another announced her arrival on the scene.

Olivvya Chow and Isabelle Lei combined for 10 medals, and were each recognized at meet’s end, leading the McMaster women to team bronze at the OUA Swimming Championships in London.

A fifth-year senior, Chow set a pair of OUA records in the 50 and 100m breast stroke events and won silver at 200m, dominating the stroke at the conference level.

Achieving the OUA record at 100m during preliminaries Thursday, Chow improved upon her new mark that night, with a final time of 1:08.44 that easily secured her the gold.

She produced the same effect on the meet’s final day to break the OUA record at 50m during afternoon prelims and better that mark hours later, winning gold in 31.26.

She added silver in the 200m individual medley to her total on day three, and contributed to silver and bronze medal swims in the 400 and 200m medley relays respectively.

For her efforts, Chow was named as a graduating athlete of distinction, the only female swimmer to earn that honour, on the final day of competition.

By comparison, Lei delivered in her first appearance at the OUA Championships, winning gold in the 200m freestyle event and silver at 100m, while helping the Marauders to a pair of bronze medals in the 200 and 400m free relays.

Her performance saw Lei take home the OUA Rookie of the Year award Saturday, becoming the first Marauder to earn that honour since its inception in 2009.

Also winning individual accolades at the OUA meet, veteran Carleen Ginter took bronze in the 800m freestyle event, while rookie Veronica Nichol won silver in the 200m backstroke, making a sizeable improvement from her preliminary time to vault a place in the final standings.

In the relays, Lei was joined by Hannah Dvorski, Sarah Little and Mianchen Wang to win bronze in the 200m free, with Nichol taking the place of Little to bring in bronze at 400m.

After teaming with Nichol, Cailyn Eley and Ginter to win silver at 400m on day one, Chow combined with Eley, Dvorski and Little to do the same in the 200m medley relay on day three.

With the help of their two leading performers, the McMaster women finished the three-day event with a total of 484.5 points, good for bronze behind the five-time OUA champion Toronto Varsity Blues and the host Western Mustangs.

On the men’s side, the Marauders earned a pair of medals through distance freestyle specialist Mitch Muizelaar, who followed silver in the 400m event on day two with a dominant performance at 1500m to win gold on the final day.

Muizelaar’s time of 15:21.93 was just two tenths of a second slower than the OUA record at the distance, established in 2005.

His contributions led the way for the Marauders men, who finished sixth as a group with a total of 272.5 points.

McMaster boasted a total of 17 U SPORTS qualification swims, with Lei (50m, 100m, 200m free, 50m fly), Chow (50m, 100m, 200m breast, 200m IM), Nichol (50m, 100m, 200m back), Dvorski (50m, 100m, 200m back), Ginter (400m, 800m free) and Muizelaar (400m and 1500m free) having qualified for the national championships in their individual disciplines.

The 400m medley relay of Nichol, Chow, Eley and Ginter, and the 200m free relay of Nichol, Wang, Dvorski and Lei also earned automatic qualifications with their times in London.

NEXT UP: The Marauders spend a week away from competition, before heading to Toronto for the U SPORTS Championships between February 22 and 24.

Source: Fraser Caldwell

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