The SFU swim team is back home after a self-described “pretty rough” meet by head coach Liam Donnelly against Seattle University. The Clan ended up losing 119–84 on the women’s side, while the men lost 138–65.
“It was a rough meet for us for sure,” said Donnelly. “That being said we had some good performances. For this time of the the season for us, overall, we’re on track, but it’s always tough to take a loss.”
There were some silver linings. Jessica Gibson continues to impress in her first season. The freshman won the women’s 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly, setting a dual meet record in the latter.
“She’s come in and embraced everything,” said Donnelly on what has made her successful right at the start of her collegiate career. “[She] balanced school really well with her sport. She’s embraced her strength training program. She’s worked her tail off in the pool. So it all kind of adds up. It’s worked well and she’s a benefit to the team and the team is a benefit to her.”
Adrian VanderHelm was also a bright spot. The junior from Barrie, Ontario won in the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle, and continues to be one of SFU’s most consistent swimmers.
“He’s the backbone of this team now,” said Donnelly on VanderHelm. “When you come in as a freshman, you’re excited and things are new, but you have a lot of things to learn — whether that is the balance of performing well in school and figuring out how to do our sport — which is pretty demanding.
“It’s a really demanding sport and that first year often times, it’s finding balance. Adrian had success even in his first year. We had some good juniors and seniors on that team, [and he] really followed them with that and worked hard. But at this point, he is becoming one of those leaders.”
Other standouts included Tim Woinoski, who set an SFU dual meet record of 15:56.09, managing to beat the time that MacKenzie Hamill had. No small feat, considering Hamill is the NCAA Division II national champion in the event.
Next up for the team is a home meet against the same team, Seattle University. It’s the second and last time the team will be able to swim at SFU in a competitive setting, and the team is relishing the opportunity.
“We love our home meets,” said Donnelly. “It’s going to be tough to expect things in seven days to be night and day. I can’t imagine that Seattle would let down that much and I expect them to come up and give us a similar performance. [. . .] But if we can be better ourselves, and come in knowing what we can bring, and see if we can bring a bit more.”
SFU will be facing Seattle University this Saturday at the Margaret and Paul Savage Pool. Admission is free to all SFU students. Start time is 1 p.m.