By Fraser Caldwell
Competing in the OUA’s DeBray Division for the first time, the Marauders cleaned up at their first appearance at the divisional championships this past weekend in Guelph, and easily came away with the team titles on both the men’s and women’s sides.
McMaster swimmers accounted for a whopping tally of 49 individual medals and 10 podium spots in relays, as the Marauders women won team gold by a 303-point margin while the men out-paced the host Gryphons by 151.5 to similarly take the title.
The veteran trio of Isabelle Lei, Emma Schlyter and Veronica Nichol led the way for the Mac women with four individual medals apiece, with Lei incredibly winning three golds over the weekend.
Demonstrating her usual mastery of the freestyle events, Lei topped the 50 and 200m fields and added another gold in the 200m individual medley, while winning silver in the 400m freestyle as well.
Splitting her time between the freestyle and medley events, Schlyter came away with gold from the 400m free and medley races, while winning silver at 200m in each and achieving a personal best in the medley.
Nichol put her mastery of the back stroke on display to win gold at 100m and silver at both 50m and 200m, with the latter standing as the 14th-fastest time in Canada this season. She also made a freestyle cameo at 100m and won silver.
Three Marauders, including Megan Romkes, rookie Claire Halford and Sarah Little, won three individual medals, with the former accomplishing two personal bests en route to gold in the 100m and 200m fly and bronze at 50m.
Enjoying a landmark weekend, the first-year Halford swam personal bests to win silver in the 400m individual medley and bronze in the 200m back stroke and individual medley events.
For her part, Little claimed silver in the 50m butterfly and added bronze at 100m, while climbing the podium once again for bronze in the 100m freestyle.
Another Marauder rookie, Gabrielle Studebaker racked up a total of five personal bests over the course of the meet, two of which netted her bronze medals in the 400m free and 100m back stroke events.
Fellow first-year Erin Anderson had three personal bests, and claimed gold in the 800m freestyle event with a time that cracked the top 40 in Canada.
Completing the medal haul for the Marauders women, Cailyn Eley won silver in the 200m butterfly event, while Elise Bolger joined Anderson on the 800m freestyle podium with a bronze medal effort.
The dominant meet for the Mac women continued in the relays, where the Marauders saw all six of their entries medal.
Combining to great effect, Little, Lei and Nichol joined forces with Chelsea Zhou to win gold in the 4x50m freestyle and topped the podium in the 4x100m variant alongside Schlyter. A second McMaster unit, consisting of Anderson, Nicole Christakis, Katherine Toy and Emily Ma, won silver in the 4x100m event. Schlyter joined with Toy, Anderson and Hiva Fazeli to win bronze in the 4x50m.
In the medleys, the team of Halford, Margaret Heckman, Romkes and Fazeli won silver in the 4x50m event, while Studebaker, Aivrey McKinley and Chelsea Zhou combined to win bronze.
On the men’s side, the Marauders were led by the trio of Alex Tropynine, Mitch Muizelaar and Ian Mackinnon, who each grabbed four individual medals over the course of the two-day event.
Tropynine was dominant in the freestyle events, en route to gold at both 100m and 200m and silver at 400m, and added a bronze medal in the 200m back stroke for good measure.
Continuing his years-long excellence in the long distance freestyle disciplines, Muizelaar took home gold in both the 1500m and 400m events, and added silver at 200m and bronze at 100m.
Completing the podium sweep of the 100m freestyle event, Mackinnon won silver at that distance while medalling three times in the back stroke, including silver-medal-worthy swims in the 50m and 100m and a gold at 200m.
Fourth-year veteran James Potma made his presence felt over the weekend by contributing silver medals in the 50m and 100m butterfly events and achieving a personal best en route to bronze in the 50m back stroke.
A pair of rookies enjoyed breakout meets, as Cameron Johnsen took home gold in the 50m and 200m breast stroke events, achieving a personal best in the latter, and Adam Miecznikowski won silver in the 200m fly and notched a personal best in the 400m individual medley to win another.
Similarly winning a pair of medals at the championship meet, Kevin Baghdassarian took gold in the 100m butterfly event and bronze at 200m.
Two veterans rounded out the medalists for the Mac men, as Mike Dereviankin swam to gold in the 50m freestyle, while Mony Tchervenelekov won bronze in the 400m individual medley.
Like their female counterparts, the Marauders men dominated the freestyle relays, with Johnsen, Tropynine, Mackinnon and Louis Sharland combining to win gold in the 4x50m event and the team of Dereviankin, Baghdassarian, Potma and Liam Robertson following close behind for silver. Mackinnon and Tropynine joined with Muizelaar and Kevin Bagnell to secure another gold in the 4x100m variant.
Potman, Johnsen and Dereviankin then teamed with Cesar Sosa Miranda in the 4x50m medley, where the Marauders won bronze.