OLYMPICS: McGill athletes begin quest for gold in London



(Photo of Victoria Poon courtesy of Team Aquatic Supplies)


LONDON, England - Former McGill University swimmer Victoria Poon of LaSalle, Que., finished fifth in the women's 4x100m freestyle relay (3:39.60) at the Summer Olympics on Saturday and failed to advance. Her next event, the 50m freestyle, is scheduled for Aug. 3 (5 a.m.).  Poon, who previously swan for the McGill Martlets, is among six McGillians competing at the Games.


Rowers Douglas Vandor of Dewittville, Que., and Derek O'Farrell of Montreal - who both got their start in a McGill novice boat - are slated to make their Olympic debut on Sunday and Monday, respectively.


If the dynamic duo is to succeed, however, they will have to put aside the heated McGill-Queen's rivalry as each of them will be stuck in a boat with a Gaels graduate from the rival university, based the Kingston, Ont.


Vandor, 37, begins his quest for a medal in the men's lightweight double sculls on Sunday at 6:10 a.m. (all times Eastern Daylight Time). The 5-foot-11, 154 pound science grad (1998) will be wearing bib No. 294 and will be positioned in the bow seat ahead of teammate Morgan Jarvis, a Queen's grad from Winnipeg, in the stroke seat.


Their preliminary race, one of three heats scheduled, will also feature boats from Italy, Portugal, India and Egypt. The winning boat in each heat advances to Wednesday's semifinal at 4:50 a.m., while all remaining boats move into the repechage round on Tuesday (5:30 a.m.). The final is slated for Thursday at 5:50 a.m.


The 29-year-old O'Farrell (BSc '07), a 6-foot-3, 187-pounder who was born in Unionville, Ont., makes his debut on Monday (5:40 a.m.) in the men's heavyweight four. He will be sitting in the stroke seat with bib No. 125. His teammates include Queen's grad Michael Wilkinson (bow), Anthony Jacob (seat 2) of Vancouver, B.C., and William Dean (seat 3) of Kelowna, B.C.


Canada's heat in the men's four includes boats from New Zealand, Australia, Serbia and Germany. The repechage is slated for Tuesday (5 a.m.), with the semifinals on Thursday (5:10 a.m.) and the finals on Saturday (5:30 a.m.).


Rounding out the McGill sextet is ex-Martlets volleyball star Marie-Andrée Lessard (BCom '01), also from LaSalle, wrestler Martine Dugrenier (BEd '08) of Laval, Que., and Montrealer Jo-Annie Fortin, a synchronized swimmer who was recently admitted to McGill and will be a psychology freshman in September.


Lessard begins her competition against Great Britain on Sunday (12:30 p.m.) with teammate Annie Martin in the preliminary round of the women's pairs. Their second match will be against Russia on July 31 (3 p.m.), followed by Italy on Aug, 2 (7 a.m.).


Dugrenier is scheduled for her preliminary bout in the women's 63 kg on Aug. 8 (1 p.m.). Fortin will begin her competition with the synchro team on Aug. 9 (10 a.m.).



Earl Zukerman

Communications Officer

Athletics & Recreation

McGill University

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514-398-1956 (Fax)

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