By Kirk Jessome
Looking to build on the streak of 18 AUS championship titles in a row, the Tigers women’s swimming team had all the depth and talent needed to take home the banner once again in 2020.
The Tigers were led by a group of outstanding seniors in Lise Cinq-Mars, Julia Sarty and Claire Yurkovich, all fifth-year national qualifiers who have been a veteran presence for the team in the pool and out.
Third-year standout Isabel Sarty was looking to continue her winning was along with second-year Reagan Crowell and newcomer Martine Nyhof.
AUS head coach of the year Lance Cansdale spoke on the leadership of his team.
“They’ve all brought something a little different to the team, as each member does, and they will be hard to replace. There was a large recruiting class that helped define an era of success for our women’s team.”
That era of success continued into the first meets of the season, with the Tigers earning team wins at the Amby Leger Invitational and the Jack Scholz Invitational meets with some strong early performances as a group.
At the Kemp-Fry Invitational, the Tigers started off hot with the 800m freestyle relay team, Cinq-Mars and first-year Abbey Corish all posting national qualifying times. That momentum carried through the rest of the meet with 10 more U SPORTS qualifying races, including two new AUS records from Isabel Sarty in the 50m and 100m freestyle.
The Tigers depth was apparent as they were able to take the win with 883 points over both McGill and Acadia.
Once again starting off the meet with a bang, AUS swimmer of the year Isabel Sarty earned the first gold of the AUS championships for the Tigers in the 200m freestyle, with Corish, Cinq-Mars and Crowell also taking home gold medals on the first night of finals.
Day two saw the Tigers first podium sweep of the championships, with Isabel Sarty, Crowell and Imani Theodore finishing in that order in the 400m freestyle. They got their second podium sweep of the meet the next day with Crowell, Theodore and Amelia Lane finishing in the top-three of the 800m freestyle.
The Tigers put together a dominant performance to claim their 19th straight AUS banner by nearly 400 points.
At the U SPORTS Championships, Sarty put together the best performance of her career thus far, posting personal best times in the 100m and 200m freestyle events to finish fourth in both races. Sarty followed that up with her first national medal, a bronze in the 50m freestyle.
With plenty of top-15 finishes, including an eighth-place finish from the 4x100m freestyle relay team, the Tigers finished 11th as a team with 231.5 points.
As key members of the team move on, they are followed close behind by a group of fantastic young athletes that are all looking to take the next step back into the U SPORTS top-10 next season.