UCC swimmers reach podium nine times at OFSAA

The disqualification of a junior medley team from CISAA did not hamper Upper Canada College’s troupe at OFSAA, as the team earned nine medals at OFSAA.

Hitting gold for both junior and seniors boys team points, gold and silver in two team medleys, and one gold, two silvers and two bronze in individual races.

It was a feat that head coach Vlad Roytberg said was a testament to the team’s character. He’s worked with most of the swimmer since they were in Grade 5.

“I describe OFSAA to my kids as icing on the cake,” he said.

UCC swept through the boys’ categories at CISAA, but one team, which included junior Nick De Chazal, was disqualified from one of the medleys for being two-hundredths of a second off the threshold.

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“I talked to officials, and I convene, and since I’ve seen it happen so many times if you can’t see two-hundredths of a second is, how can you DQ teenagers?” he Roytberg said. “The four kids who were DQed in that relay, I ended up putting in another relay. They did really well.”

It wasn’t going to hold them back, though, as De Chazal and the team were placed in another medley and qualified for OFSAA through that.

“This team setback wasn’t going to hold us back because the junior team knew that we were going to be able to compete in the freestyle relay at OFSAA,” De Chazal said. “The loss in team points was disappointing to see, but the impact of this deficit wasn’t enough to knock us out of first place in the team rankings.”

Junior UCC swimmers
COMEBACK KIDS: The junior team, Henry Wang, left, Aaren Fung, Justin Lee, Michael Wilson and Nick De Chazal, overcame a CISAA disqualification to qualify for OFSAA. That led to a gold in the junior category.

De Chazal earned a silver and bronze in the 100-meter freestyle and the 50-meter backstroke respectively, on top of the silver in the 200-meter freestyle relay with teammates Jack Fejer, Aaren Fung and Michael Wilson.

For the senior portion of the team, James Kingsmill, who earned three individual golds at CISAA, OFSAA was just as fruitful. He took the podium three times as well. He earned a gold in the 100-meter individual medley, a silver in the 100-meter backstroke and a gold in the 200-meter medley relay with teammates John Babits, Matthew Karmitz and Benjamin Sun.

“As a graduating student looking back at my time as a part of the swim program, I am most proud of the way that the team has grown and developed over the past four years,” Kingsmills said. “The unbelievable seniors that I have around me are a dedicated group of guys, and their upbeat attitudes and willingness to challenge themselves have trickled down and pushed younger athletes to go to practice as much as they can, and become the best swimmers they can be.”

Babits rounded out the individual medals with a bronze in the 50-meter freestyle.

Different atmosphere at local sports centre

The only qualm the team had was that OFSAA was held in their own backyard at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

“The atmosphere was certainly different, but I think the closeness actually worked to our advantage,” De Chazal said. “The night before our team practised at the competition pool. This decision by our coach helped us focus on the event and prepared us for the upcoming meet.

“The close proximity also helped the team atmosphere as we were able to have team dinners after each hard-fought day of racing.”

Unfortunately for Roytberg, this year’s graduating class will take 25 senior members from the pool, accounting for one-third of the team.

Most of them have been under his tutelage since they were 10. But the graduating junior grades are providing a good crop to work with.

“The kids coming up are really strong. The experience at OFSAA this year has pumped up the other kids,” Roytberg said. “They feel like my kids by the time they graduate (and) It’s nice for me.”