Swimmers dive in at Saanich Commonwealth Place for the Canada West university swimming championships. Spencer Pickles/Black Press

Vikes set records at the Canada West swim championships

Eric Hedlin, Danielle Hanus set conference records

Swimmer Danielle Hanus of the University of Victoria Vikes won five medals and etched her name in the Canada West record books with two conference-record swims, capturing gold in the 100- and 200-metre butterfly events at the Canada West Swimming Championships at Saanich Commonwealth Place, Nov. 24 to 26.

Hanus set the 100m butterfly record of 59.09 and the 200m record of 2:09.77, and also won silver medal in the 50m backstroke and 100m backstroke. The second-year athlete then earned a bronze as part of the four person 4 x 200m freestyle relay team with Kara Wilson, Taylor Snowden-Richardson and Kaitlin Gervais.

“Danielle is a very good swimmer and put in hard swims in both prelims and finals throughout the meet,” said Vikes assistant coach Ryan Clouston. “She got better every swim and demolished everyone in the underwaters for sure.”

Vike Eric Hedlin broke a four-year-old record to win the the 1500m freestyle in 14:58:05, one of his two medals. Hedlin won silver in the 400m freestyle.

Hedlin is the favourite to repeat as the U Sports national champion in the 1,500m later this season.

“It was a good swim for Eric, it is good to see him get back to a winning position in a more structured race and lay it all on the line,” said Vikes head coach Peter Vizsolyi.

Vike Josh Zakala won three medals, bronze in the 400m freestyle, silver in the 400m individual medley and bronze in the 1,500m freestyle. Bailey Espersen finished third in the 200m breaststroke.

In addition to the Canada West championships, fourth-year Vikes swimmer Snowden-Richardson was named the 2017 Canada West Student-Athlete Community Service Award winner for her work with hospitalized children.

Earlier this year Snowden-Richardson created Tay’s Team, an initiative that supports children in hospitals. Snowden-Richardson personally knits and crochets fun character hats for the children and is known for using iconic superhero themes, Disney princesses and Pixar characters. (See photo of Snowden-Richardson hats below.)

“This year a past family friend was diagnosed with leukemia at just six years old,” explains Snowden-Richardson, who was motivated to make a difference. “I wanted to give him something to let him know that he was on my mind but as a student, I didn’t have extra money to buy him a present. I decided to crochet him a super hero hat that he could wear to his chemo appointments when he started to lose his hair.”

Next up for the Vikes is the PCS Christmas Cracker that takes place on Dec. 8 at Saanich Commonwealth Place.

reporter@saanichnews.com

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