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Acadia swim team finishes second with 24 medal haul

Acadia swim team finishes second with 24 medal haul

HALIFAX, N.S. -The Acadia swim team completed the AUS swimming championships held at Dalhousie University this past weekend with a 24 medal haul that included three gold medal wins. After the three day event, the team came away with two solid second place finishes in both the men's and women's divisions. 

"The team really came together and fought hard with every swim but fell short of winning their first championship," noted head coach Gary McDonald after the weekend.

The men's team showed great promise last year and came within a whisker of winning their first AUS title and this season's recruitment was moderate after losing four great senior swimmers to graduation.

"We knew it would be a challenge this season. We will continue to build both programs and if recruiting goes our way, next season should be very interesting in the men's division," added McDonald.

The team was lead by the veterans including U SPORTS qualifiers Brett Liem, Ben Henger, Kelsea Vessey and Jessica Pelletier.

"Brett's performance was dominant, coming away with two gold medal finishes which was amazing because he wasn't rested or shaved down. His morning swim in the 50m free was his best performance where he went 22.57 and broke his own AUS record," said McDonald.

Ben Henger swam tough and garnered medals in each event he swam including 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke and 100m butterfly.

Other strong performances came from freshman, Elyott Chang who was in the running up for Rookie of the meet. Chang captured two silvers in the 800m breaststroke and 200m individual medley and a bronze in the 400m individual medley. Freshman, Aubrey Landry showed great promise in his first season. Team captain, Guy Harrison-Murray was also very strong in all his finals narrowly missing the podium, adding great leadership and strength in the relay teams.

Kelsea Vessey continued her championship form as she won medals in all four of her events with a very big win in the 200m butterfly on the last evening. Jessica Pelletier medaled in her specialty the 50m backstroke in a very competitive field. Veteran Hannah Doiron finished her last season with a Bronze in the 100m breaststroke.

Freshwoman Cali Bruce also had a very strong meet in all her events narrowly missing the podium three times. Bruce's best event came tenths of seconds from missing her first U SPORTS cut. First year swimmer Mary Beth Brown also showed great promise and improved dramatically over the season in her specialty sprint freestyle.

"The team spirit was infectious and  it was very evident in the final two relays where both men's and women were in some very tight battles for the silver medal," pointed out McDonald.

One of the highlights of the meet was the last race of the Sunday session in the men's 400m freestyle relay. The Axemen team had decided to start slowly and build through the relay by putting their top two swimmers last. At the 200m mark and 300 mark the team was in fourth place. Enter third year veteran , Brett Liem and he was off to an amazing last leg by chasing down Memorial and UNB. With five meters to go, Liem finally caught up and surged to the finish to place an amazing second place behind the Dal Tigers.

"It was a very rewarding season and we look forward to next year's challenge," concluded McDonald.

Four individuals will move on to the U SPORTS championship hosted by UBC including Kelsea Vessey, Jessica Pelletier, Ben Henger and Brett Liem.


Medal Count: 

Brett Liem:

Gold – 50m freestyle
Gold – 50m butterfly
Silver – 50m breaststroke
Silver – 100m freestyle

Ben Henger:

Silver – 100m butterfly
Bronze – 50m backstroke
Bronze – 100m backstroke
Bronze – 200m backstroke

Kelsea Vessey:

Gold – 200m butterfly
Silver – 50m butterfly
Silver - 100m butterfly
Bronze – 800m freestyle 

Elyott Chang:
Silver – 800m breaststroke
Silver – 200m individual medley
Bronze - 400m individual medley 

Jessica Pelletier:
Bronze – 50m backstroke

Hannah Doiron:
Bronze – 100m breaststroke

Chris Johnson
Bronze – 200m breaststroke 


Women's 400m medley – Silver
Men's 400m medley – Silver 

Women's 800m freestyle - Silver
Men's 800m freestyle – Bronze

Women's 400m freestyle – Bronze
Men's 400m freestyle - Silver