by Kirk Jessome
With the 2019-20 AUS swimming season about to get underway, the Dalhousie Tigers are looking to continue an historic run of conference dominance and capture their 19th consecutive AUS title.
With a roster bolstered by fifth-year seniors Claire Yurkovich and Lise Cinq-Mars, as well as standout performer Isabel Sarty in her third season, the Tigers are led by example both in and out of the water.
After last season’s performance, Sarty proved that she is a force to be reckoned with in the freestyle events, having her name attached to two individual AUS and Dalhousie records in the 50m and 100m freestyle to go with the 400m freestyle relay record that Dalhousie secured.
Last season also saw the emergence of rookie Reagan Crowell as a very strong medley and freestyle swimmer. Crowell had a particularly solid performance at the AUS championship where she took home three individual gold medals to be named the swimmer and rookie of the championship. If Crowell continues to progress, she’s likely to make a splash at the U SPORTS level.
Joining the group of four returning U SPORTS qualifiers for what promises to be an impressive rookie campaign is freestyle and backstroke specialist, Martine Nyhof. Already having strong performances in the early meets of the season, Nyhof will make a big impact in her first season with the Tigers.
With an historically deep program, as evidenced by the success of their relay teams, this season appears to be no different with an all-star calibre lineup only being complemented by the addition of Nyhof.
After their AUS championship victory last season, the Tigers followed that up with a 12th place finish at the U SPORTS championship meet that head coach Lance Cansdale believed was below where they could have been.
Cansdale commented that the energy his team needed was there when they were at home, but fell flat at the national level. That transition will be a key focus of the season for his team moving forward.
Having energy at home will also be a crucial factor for the Tigers this season as they host the AUS championship again this season in February, but before that happens, the Tigers will dive into the first chance to qualify for the U SPORTS championship this weekend at the Kemp-Fry Invitational hosted at Dalplex. The first events will get underway on Friday at 4:00 pm.