Huggins wins swimming gold; advances to nationals

In the spotlight of swimming in her home pool, Nikki Huggins posted a fantastic result at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) swimming championship at Brock last weekend.Huggins posted a blistering 30.76 second time in the 50-meter backstroke, capturing the gold medal in that event. With that result, Huggins qualifies for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championships, only the second Brock female to do so.

With a gold medal around her neck, Huggins captured the 50 m freestyle, her second gold medal. She finished the weekend with a silver medal in the 100m freestyle, and a fourth place in the 4 x 1500 medley, along with Julie Hill, Sarah Nickerson and Elizabeth Armstrong.

“I wasn’t expecting it [the results] … I had a lot of friends and family there, who saw me [swim] for the first time.”

Also highlighting the competition was Craig Ross’ fantastic silver-medal wins in the men’s 50 m backstroke and 200 m backstroke. Ross was the top swimmer for an under-manned team that fielded only eight athletes.

Overall, the women’s team finished a respectable fifth, which is one better than last year. The team’s effort was buoyed by a fourth in the 200 m free, fourth in the 400 m free, fifth in the 400 m individual medley (IM) and sixth in the 200 m fly by Nickerson.

Armstrong took fifth 50 m free, seventh in the 100 m free, 14th 200 m free and 50 m fly, and added many points. Hill took eighth 100 m breast, 10th in the 200 m breast and 12th in the 200 m IM and 50 m breast. Julie Campbell was 13th 400 m IM.

Brock’s 4 x 50 Medley Relay team of Huggins, Hill, Nickerson and Armstrong placed fourth, while their compatriots Anette Partridge, Sloan, Brianne Mitchell and Nathalie Willmer took 14th.

The 4 x 100 free Relay of Ivany, Krystin Zafra, Melissa Brannagan and Wilson was 11th and the team of Campbell, Paula Stephanson, Willmer, Gill Richardson swam in at 15th.

The mens team’s eighth place overall finish was aided by Jason van der Sluis, who raced feverishly, and took seventh in the 1500 m free, 11th in the 200 m free, 11th in the 400 m free, and 13th 400 m IM.

Lars Bruschke was 12th in the 50 m free and 16th in the 200 m free, and Rob Hebert was 14th in the 50 m free and 16th in the 100 m free. Brandon McGuire took 13th in the 50 m fly.

The men’s 4 x 50 Medley Relay of Ross, Mark Mitchell, McGuire, Hebert took an astounding 5th, while the 4 x 100 free relay of Bruschke, Hebert, Ross, van der Sluis impressed with a sixth.

The 4 x 100 Relay of McGuire, Cory Krist, John Bonneville and Mitchell was 15th.

The teams were coached by Denise Power, who filled in admirably for an injured Herb de Bray.

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