By: Barkev Sivazlian
In the last event of the season, the gold medal that has evaded McMaster’s Konrad Bald has finally been brought home.
Bald, a fifth-year engineering student, captured the gold medal at the 2015 CIS Swimming Championship in the 50m breaststroke. Bald’s gold medal performance time was 28.46 seconds.
In what was the last event of the year, the championship represented a final opportunity for the McMaster swimming standout to capture the gold medal.
Bald described the event as being “filled with energy” and said it felt even more special than years past.
“All the hard work and training culminates at that one moment,” Bald said.
This event marked the first gold medal performance for Bald as a Marauder.
A decision to disqualify the first-place seated Bald last year in the 100m breaststroke finals cost him his opportunity at his first gold medal in 2014’s CIS Swimming Championship.
Despite the heartbreak and frustration, a determined Bald used that experience as motivation for this year’s championship meet.
“I missed my chance on the gold, and it was devastating,” Bald said. “I always knew that there was one more to go for the gold again, and I always had faith that I would get it eventually.”
Bald showcased the heart of a champion by bouncing back to capture both a silver medal in the 100m breast and the gold in the 50m breast this year.
As the season came to an end, Bald reflected on his time as a McMaster swimmer and said he has nothing but respect and appreciation for his coaches, teammates and everyone who supported him on his journey.
“We’re made fun of because other teams call us a cult, but it’s because we’re such a family to each other,” said Bald.
“You go into practice with the same people everyday and after you come out, you’re completely exhausted so you really don’t want to talk to other people and we’re just constantly around each other.”
As a fifth-year student, Bald is one of the more experienced swimmers on the team and has taken on a mentor role for the younger swimmers—an idea Bald had to take some time adjusting to.
“One of the biggest struggles I had was that the people I had looked up to eventually graduated and I was still here, swimming along,” Bald said.
“The people that I looked up to myself are no longer there, so I had to become that person for the younger swimmers.”
So what lies ahead for the McMaster star? Bald is now focusing his energy on the next Olympic trials in hopes of being able to represent both McMaster University and Canada on a national platform.
“I went to the first Olympic trials during my second year, and it really set the dream for me,” Bald said.
“I wanted to spend the next four years training and getting ready to go for it again.”
Keep a close eye, for the next time Bald gets a medal, it may be an Olympic one.