Last season, the McMaster varsity swimming teams enjoyed record-breaking performances that brought home several awards for the Marauders. This year, with the regular season coming to an end, both Mac teams find themselves in the top ten. The men, ranked No. 8 in the country, and the women, ranked No. 9, prepare for the OUA championships that will take place on Feb. 7-9 in Toronto.
Host Varsity Blues men’s and women’s teams are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in Canada. Mac got a chance to get in the water with a usually strong U of T program, hosting the Blues on Jan. 12, narrowly losing to the visitors by a combined men’s and women’s score of 161-110. In what was their eighth event of the season, the Marauder swimmers made a strong showing against one of the tougher opponents in the CIS.
On Jan. 27 the swim teams headed to Waterloo for a duel meet hosted by the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks. Both the men’s and women’s teams from Laurier sit in the CIS top 20, ranked No. 17 and No. 18 respectively.
Sunday was a day of dominance for the Marauders, outscoring the sides from Laurier and the rest of the field handily with program total of 14 first place finishes. The strongest showings for the women’s team came in the 200m distances with a group consisting of Kieran Lieuw, Erin MacFayden, Virginia Hetherington and Madeleine Tam capturing gold in the medley. Lieuw would also take home gold in the freestyle relay alongside Natasha Strauss-Hundal, Emily Fung and Meg Sloan.
On the men’s side, a pair of Marauder rookies stood out with spectacular performances in both team and individual events. Freshman Mohamed Eldah and Marc Muise found the top of the podium three times each.
Muise, a 6’3” 187 lb life science student, captured a pair of individual golds in the 50m butterfly and 200m individual medley. Teaming up with Konrad Bald, Cam Bailey and Mohamed Eldah, the Brantford native brought home another gold in the 200m freestyle relay.
Eldah’s other two gold medals came individually in the 100m freestyle and as part of the 200m-medley relay team with Cory Woo, Bald and Jeff Braches.
Competing for the Marauders is a hometown experience for Eldah, who is from the Steel City. Despite his community ties however, the Environmental and Earth Sciences student has taken his talents to the international stage for this season. Earlier in the month the 6’4” freshman represented Canada as part of the National Junior team at the Age group championships in Sydney, Australia from Jan. 8-13.
Eldah not only represented his country with a solid showing Down Under, but added to the tradition of McMaster athletes competing at an international level. Now that he and his fellow Marauders have wrapped up the season, they will look to make a strong showing at the OUA championship and hopefully improve on their solid results from last year’s CIS championship.
This year’s national competition will take place in Calgary on Feb. 21-23, hosted by the annually strong Dinos.