WOLFVILLE, N.S. - After a record-breaking season that saw the Axewomen and Axemen swim teams better their 2017 AUS Swimming championship medal haul of 21 with 33 medals this past season. The Axemen and Axewomen finished second in their respective gender category and second overall at last year's championship.
Head coach Gary MacDonald expects a very competitive team this coming season but is aware that he lost four senior men's swimmers from last year's squad including Adam Deutsch who had two gold and two silver medals at last year's AUS championship.
VIDEO PREVIEW with Coach Gary MacDonald
"Last season was a huge step forward for the men's team as we came so very close to winning our first ever men's championship. This year will be a bigger challenge as we lost 4 good seniors to graduation, however, we will be very competitive in both teams," said MacDonald, who was named the 2018 AUS Men's Swimming Coach of the Year.
The Axemen will continue to challenge perennial AUS champion Dalhousie with the return of several key performers. U SPORTS finalist, Brett Liem, will lead the way in the sprint events again after an almost undefeated season last year.
Third-year swimmer Ben Henger will offer great results in the sprint, fly and backstroke events. Team Captain, Guy Harrison-Murray will be a major player in his mid-distance freestyle events. Guy is coming off a stellar summer where he competed in the PARA Pan Pacs in Australia, grabbing four medals (3 bronze and 1 silver). A distance specialist, Josh Nowlan who was rookie of the year last season should compete for the top of the podium in the 1500 freestyle.
New faces to be on the watch for are Ellyott Chang and Aubrey Landry who both look sharp and will join the rest of the team looking for great results.
The Axewomen will have senior swimmer Hannah Doiron returns for her fourth season and is looking to complete her last year by looking for the podium in all her breaststroke events with the intentions to qualify for the U SPORTS championships again.
Sophomores, Kelsea Vessey and Jessica Pelletier had a great season last year and will look to improve on a very impressive rookie season. Vessey narrowly missed her first U SPORTS final last season by placing ninth in the 200 butterfly.
Team captain Nicole Windsor is looking to match her freshmen year.
"We have six new women added to our Axewomen team and four of our recruited rookies look to make a difference," noted MacDonald.
Newcomers Lia Lancaster, Cali Bruce, Mary Beth Brown and Sarah MacDougall all are starting there season with a focus of fast swimming that will help the women's team challenge the best AUS has to offer.
"We have the biggest team in history with 17 men and 17 women. It should be a very exciting year. We have a great group of committed athletes who want nothing more than to challenge for an AUS championship. If it doesn't come this year it will eventually," concluded MacDonald.
The Axemen and Axewomen open the AUS season at home at the Jack Scholz Memorial Swim Meet this season. Saturday begins with 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm sessions followed by one session on Sunday at 11:00 am.