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Catching up with OUA swimming Rookie of the Year After winning 2017-2018 Rookie of the Year, Mac’s Isabelle Lei discusses her second year as a Marauder and living up to expectations

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Photos C/O Kyle West

What year and program are you in?

Isabelle: Second year, health sciences.

Tell us, what made you decide to come to Mac?

I: Planning for university in Grade 11, I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to swim. So my initial interest in McMaster was because of the health sciences program, and it’s unique approach to interdisciplinary studies. However, as Grade 12 approached and started, I knew that I would miss the sport too much to stop before the varsity experience. The Mac swim team was one of the first recruit trips that I came on, and it was the one I remember the best because I felt at home and part of the family immediately.

Tell us a bit about the season so far? The team and individually?

I: The team has grown significantly compared to last year because quite a few first-years came in, especially on the women’s side. It’s been great to integrate them into the team, and having new training partners and a new dynamic is both refreshing and exciting as we prepare for [the Ontario University Athletics Championship]. I would say that this year, our winter break training camp in Florida was collectively viewed as the hardest training camp that the team has been through, and our hard work is starting to show in the pool as we begin to taper down and see positive results.

If you had to tell us one thing about yourself that people don’t know what would it be?

I: I eat at least one jar of peanut butter a week.

As the OUA Rookie of the Year, do you feel pressure to live up to everything you accomplished last year?

I: Receiving OUA Rookie of the Year last season was very humbling for me, because I came in with no expectations. This second time around, there is definitely pressure for me to perform because I do not want to let the team down, but I know it all comes down to stepping on the blocks and just leaving it all in the pool. I know that my team is there for me stroke for stroke, as I will be for them. If I can finish every race knowing for a fact that I could not have gone any faster, or tried any harder, I will be satisfied, and posting personal bests would be the cherry on top.

Lastly, what are your goals for this season?

I: I am very excited for both Ontario University Athletics and U Sports championships because the calibre of swimmers at both meets has increased, even from last year. To be able to compete with people who have international experience is an amazing, inspiring opportunity, and I would like to just go into the field and race with joy and make the team proud. I’m also swimming a couple of different races from last year, so I’m excited to reach outside my comfort zone and spice it up.

 

The 2019 Swimming OUA Championships will be held Feb. 7-9 at Brock University.

 

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Author: Jessica Carmichael

Sharing the same birthday but not the same salary as Houston Rockets' Chris Paul, Jessica spends most of her days not practicing her free throw. In addition to studying communications and media, Jessica dedicates the majority of her time to flag football and watching an endless amount of sports documentaries. Looking for her own Last Chance U pet project, Jessica is committed to covering sports beyond the box score and faceless stats.