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Bielby named swimmer of the year but Martlets steal the show with miraculous conquest of Quebec crown at RSEQ championship

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Published: 12 Feb 2012

 

(PHOTO BY GARY RUSH)

 

TROIS-RIVIERES - McGill swimmer Steven Bielby of Pte. Claire, Que., won six medals, four of them golden, and received male swimmer of the year honours but it was the McGill women's team that stole the show at the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec swim championships in Trois-Rivieres, Sunday.

The upstart Martlets stunned heavily-favoured Laval to claim the Quebec university title for the first time in eight years.

"We were always within striking distance during the previous four meets (where points are also accumulated) but I figured that we had maybe a 10 per cent chance of pulling it off and I must admit that even I was surprised we won," said third-year McGill mentor Peter Carpenter, who received coach-of-the-year honours in the RSEQ conference. "It was our overall depth that made the difference. It gave us flexibility, especially on the relays, where we scored a lot of points. I'm unbelievably proud of the girls. They swam their hearts out and it was just an amazing performance."

The Martlets only won four of 17 events but compiled 251 points to Laval's 225. After factoring in all five Quebec Cup meets, McGill finished atop the final standings with a narrow 13-point lead.

On the men's side, McGill won six of 17 races but Laval's depth scored more as the Rouge et Or compiled 339.4 points to McGill's 264. Once all five competitions from the season were factored in, Laval edged out the Redmen by 41.4 points for the conference banner. It was the fifth straight league title for the Rouge et Or.

Bielby, a 22-year-old electrical engineering senior, finished atop the podium in the 400-metre individual medley, as well as the 400 and 1500 freestyles. He also anchored the winning 4x100 freestyle relay.

Other Redmen gold medallists included Marc-Andre Benoit, a management freshman from Montreal, who garnered a pair of gold medals, along with two silvers and a bronze. Tyler Manning-Dahan of Rosemere, Que., and Montrealer Michael Luck, were also double golden.

Others Redmen to finish atop the podium were Joseph Toops of Evanston, Ill., and Erik Cheng of Montreal.

Each gold medallist automatically earns RSEQ all-star status.

On the women's side, the Martlets were paced by a five-medal effort from Valerie De Broux, a freshman from Montreal who captured one gold, three silvers and a bronze. Teammates Laura Mendonca of Pte. Claire, Que., and Montrealer Sophie Overnay-Ragan each won a pair of gold medals, to go along with silver and bronze medals. Other McGill gold medallists included Leanne Roach, Sophie G.de Tonnancour, a junior from Brossard, Que., freshman Lei Lopez of Calgary and Jennifer Darling, a sophomore from Vancouver, B.C.

Roach, a conference all-star who captained the Martlets last year, was also presented with the league's annual leadership and citizenship award. The psychology senior from Riverview, N.B., has coordinated various fundraising efforts for the team and the Cedars Breast Cancer Clinic in support of McGill assistant coach Genevieve Gregoire, who is currently battling that disease. Roach volunteers her time with the McGill Varsity Council, serving in the VP community outreach portfolio and has been a key organizer for the past two years for the McGill holiday food drive, collecting non-perishable food donations for the Sun Youth Community Centre. Other volunteer projects include working with "Right to Play" and coordinating visits of McGill athletes to work at the Old Brewery Mission.

Next on tap for McGill is the CIS championship meet, slated to be held at the Université de Montreal, Feb 23-25. The team has qualified 20 athletes for the Nationals. Last year, McGill qualified 19 swimmers. In 2010, they had a dozen, which was five more than the previous year.

The list of men's qualifiers for this year's meet includes Bielby, Benoit, Cheng, Luck and Toops, in addition to Jason Boivin, Matthew Khatchadourian of Beaconsfield, Que., Derek Engel of Dollard des Ormeaux, Que., Martin Matusczak of Mississauga and Pierre-Alexandre Renaud of Laval, Que.

Among the women heading to Nationals is Sophie G de Tonnacour, plus Darling, De Broux, Lopez, Mendonca, Overney-Ragan, Roach, Myriam Donato of Pte. Claire, Que., Rayven Snodgrass of Calgary and Jennifer Harding-Marlin of Hatley, Que.

 

RSEQ CHAMPIONSHIP WOMEN'S STANDINGS:

 

RK. TEAM / SCORE / SEASON TOTAL

1. McGill, 251 (192.40)

2. Laval, 225 (179.35)

3. Montreal, 206 (172.95)

4. UQTR, 47 (33.80)

5. Sherbrooke, 18 (12.20)

 

ATHLETE OF THE MEET:

Geneviève Cantin, Laval

 

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

Geneviève Cantin, Laval

 

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:

Geneviève Cantin, Laval

 

LEADERSHIP & CITIZENSHIP AWARD:

Leanne Roach, McGill

 

COACH OF THE YEAR:

Peter Carpenter, McGill

 

GOLD MEDAL PERFORMANCES BY McGILL WOMEN (conference all-stars):

50m backstroke (Lei Lopez), 29.96

50m breaststroke (Laura Mendonca), 33.44

4x50m individual medley (Lei Lopez, Leanne Roach, Sophie Overney-Ragan, Laura Mendonca), 1:59.62

4x100m individual medley (Jennifer Darling, Valerie De Broux, Sophie Overney-Ragan, Sophie G.de Tonnancour), 4:17.71

 

RSEQ CHAMPIONSHIP MEN'S STANDINGS:

RK. TEAM / SCORE / SEASON TOTAL

1. Laval, 339.5 (261.5)

2. McGill, 264.0 (220.1)

3. Montreal, 118.5 (94.1)

4. Sherbrooke, 20.0 (14.2)

5. UQTR,  17.0 (11.5)

 

ATHLETE OF THE MEET:

Maxime Jacomelli, Laval

 

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

Steven Bielby, McGill

 

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:

Pascal-Hugo C-Cantin, Laval

 

LEADERSHIP & CITIZENSHIP AWARD:

Simon Couillard-Castonguay, Laval

 

COACH OF THE YEAR:

Nicolas Perron, Laval

 

GOLD MEDAL PERFORMANCES BY McGILL MEN (conference all-stars):

100m freestyle (Marc-Andre Benoit), 51:37

400m individual medley (Steven Bielby), 4:25.85

400m freestyle (Steven Bielby), 3:57.51

1500m freestyle (Steven Bielby), 15:50.28

4x50m freestyle (Tyler Manning-Dahan, Michael Luck, Joseph Toops, Erik Cheng), 1:34.53

4x100m freestyle (Marc-Andre Benoit, Michael Luck, Tyler Manning-Dahan, Steven Bielby), 3:28.94

 

SOURCE:

Earl Zukerman

Communications Officer

Athletics & Recreation

McGill University

514-398-7012 (Tel.)

m.athletics.mcgill.ca (mobile website)

www.mcgill.ca/athletics

earl [dot] zukerman [at] mcgill [dot] ca?subject=E-mail%20hyperlink%20for%20Earl%20Zukerman" rel="nofollow"> earl [dot] zukerman [at] mcgill [dot] ca

 

 

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