June 13th, 2024

Horns ready to make a splash at Championships

By Lethbridge Herald on February 22, 2023.

Herald FILE PHOTO The Horns’ Apollo Hess carves the water to a gold medal during the 200-meter breaststroke at the Canada West Championship on Sunday in this November 2022 file photo. Hess swam his way on to the Canadian Olympic team.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns swim team are carrying their largest contingent in the program’s history to the USports Swimming Championships over the next three days in Victoria, B.C.

There will be 14 Horns swimmers, including six women and eight men, competing in the pool.

“Things have gone really well,” said Horns coach Peter Schori.

“We have a pretty challenging preparation phase because the swimmers come back after their exams in December, and then a little bit of break usually at home, and then it’s a fast turnaround from when we get started in really the beginning of January to try and be ready to race by this time of year. But our group has done a really great job. We had a good training camp in Palm Springs  to start the new year and I think we look pretty sharp right now.”

Apollo Hess will look to defend his U Sports gold medal in the 50-metre and 200-metre back breast stroke.

“Well, you know, Apollo had such a high standard last year, that there’s times I think athletes can set a bar so high, that it’s challenging to continue to get past that standard,” said Schori.

“And in Apollo’s case, he’s built on last year with a great Canada West Championships. He comes into this meet ranked at the top of USports in the breaststroke swims. But he’s got a couple of super guys that he competes against, both from within the Canada West conference, as well as some swimmers from the University of Toronto. I think we’re going to see Apollo continue to lead us at this USports and swim great.”

Chris Alexander will look to follow up his bronze medal performance from a year in the 50-metre backstroke competition, while Raine Arden will look to lead in the 200-metre freestyle event after capturing gold at the 2022 Canada West Championships.

Hess, Alexander and Arden will have Parker Brown in the group in the medley and free relay and the group will be look to hit the podium for a second year in a row.

As for the women’s side, Ryenne Katteerhagen in the breaststroke events and Delaney Lehman in the sprint backstroke and freestyle events are expected to lead the way.

Schori will also look to see returnee Hunter Stewardson have a successful meet and make finals this year in a couple of the breast stroke events.

“Nothing in life or sport for that matter is linear,” said Schori.

“The improvements we make, you know they’re a little bit like waves, as  my swimming reference. And sometimes a little bit of momentum has to be built up before that wave can crest.  And I think our women are in one of those phases right now where they’re building up a lot of momentum and are going to have a great Championships, and start to fall in some of those hopefully podium successes that our men have had.”

Schori thinks the men can crack the top 10 and the women in the top 14 in team scoring.

The USports Championships will be hosted at Saanich Commonwealth Place in Victoria from Feb. 23-25.

The action can be viewed at cbcsports.ca.




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