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WOSSAA swimming

 Triple gold for Watson and McCaw


  The PCI athletes both win all races entered at WOSSAA swimming

  St. Joe's Keyes heads to third OFSAA this year with teammates


  • WOSSAA swimming




Saturday, February 24, 2018

By Rob J. Ross 

LONDON, ON - Mac Watson is ready to medal again in his return to the OFSAA swim championships. He is also pondering retiring from the pool.

The Grade 10 student at Parkside Collegiate Institute, won all three of his races, in the 14 years and under boys' high school division, at the Western Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association (WOSSAA) swim championships, February 21, at Western University.

"It feels pretty good actually. I just went out there and put all into it," said Watson, of his golden swims, in the 50-metre fly (30.38 seconds), 50m free (27.57 sec.) and 100m free (1:02.69). "I'll keep training (for OFSAA). I'll work on my turns. I had some bad turns that I felt really slowed me down. I have to improve on that."

A year ago at OFSAA, Watson won a silver medal in the 50-metre free and a bronze in the 100m free, for the 14 and under boys' high school division.

This year Watson has decided to compete in the 50-metre free and 50m fly, at OFSAA, the high school provincial championships, in Windsor, February 27-28th. Swimmers may only compete in two individual events at OFSAA.

"50 free is my best one and I did the 100 free last year, so I thought I'd change it up and do the 50 fly this year."

Watson, who also stars for Parkside in football and track and field (javelin, discus) pointed out it's likely his final year in the water.

"My last WOSSAA. I'm not going to swim next year. I'm not getting any faster. I'm only shaving off little bits at a time and I'm going to try another sport. Wrestling. I was doing them both (swim, wrestling) at the start of the year, but they (TVRA) won't let you do both."

Watson wasn't the only three-time gold medalist for Parkside.

Briar McCaw won the 14 years and under girls' high school division, the 50-metre fly (33.88 sec.), 50m back (36.73 sec.), and 100m I.M. (1:19.76)

"It's pretty exciting. It feels awesome," said McCaw, on qualifying for OFSAA.

The Grade nine student opened with a win in the 50 fly, before taking gold in her two stronger events.

"I knew I had to have a quick stroke rate and I kept that throughout," said McCaw, of her 50 fly. "The touch was really important and the turn. It was close at the end and I wasn't quite sure I touched first."

McCaw did touch first, three times, making PCI six for six in winning races entered at WOSSAA.

(Complete WOSSAA results)


Kayla Keyes is returning to OFSAA for a third consecutive year, but the St. Joseph's Grade 11 student is excited more about having teammates attend the championship with her this season.

Keyes, in the 15 years and over girls' high school division, won the 50m free (33.27 sec.), 100m free (1:08.12) and placed second in the 200-metre free.

During the 50 free Keyes thought maybe she went out too fast, feeling fatigued mid race, but fought to hang on to the lead over runner-up Lauren Blaha, of London Banting.

In the only race Keyes didn't win, fatigue was a factor, but she gutted it out.

"Halfway through I was tired and thought, 'oh no,"," expressed Keyes, on the 200 free. "My last 50 I sprinted and got neck and neck with (Blaha, again). She got there (touching wall) a little bit before me."

For her first two trips to OFSAA, Keyes attended solo, but not so this year.

"I'll have a team this year," Keyes exclaimed.

Haley Demeray, overcame nervousness, to place second in the 14 years and under girls' high school division 50-metre breaststroke (40.91 seconds).

"I've been working hard swimming for a really, really long time. I used to struggle with weight problems, so this is the final result. It feels amazing. It's a good thing," said the Grade 10 student. "I just pushed as had as I could to beat the (qualifying) time. Once I got out, my coach (Annette Barry) told me I did it and I gave her and my best friend (Madison Morin) the biggest hug ever. I feel amazing."

Owen Gillet, Gabriel Dala and Brooklyn Reiter, will all compete in the mixed 50 metre free and 50m back para races.

St. Joe's placed 11th overall in team standings and eighth in the girls' division.

The St. Joe's girls' 15 years and over 200-metre medley relay team just missed qualifying for OFSAA, finishing second, behind Arva Medway, in a time of 2:31.66. The foursome of Keyes, Demeray, Morin and Julia McCord, needed to be under the OFSAA standard of 2:31.18.

Morin, girls' 14 years and under high school division, placed fourth in the 50m back and 12th, 50m free. Jillian Barlett placed sixth in the open girls' 100-metre breaststroke, sixth in the 200m I.M. and 14th, 50m free. Julia McCord was 10th, girls' 14 years and under high school division 100m free and 14th, 50m free.


The East Elgin Eagles finished 13th out of 35 teams, led by their two OFSAA qualifiers, para-athlete Brennan Piche-Leclair and Haley Broer.

Piche-Leclair, continuing to improve at each meet in his first year of swimming, set personal bests in all three of his races, winning the para mixed 50-metre backstroke (49.11 sec.) and placing second in both the para mixed 50m free and 100m free.

Broer moves on to OFSAA, qualifying third in the open girls' 100-metre back (1:10.48).

Seth Walker finished third in the open boys' 100-metre fly and 200m I.M., while Brianna Cunningham, placed seventh, posting personal best times, in both the open girls' 100-metre free and 100m back.


Cloe Seliga led Lord Dorchester placing second, in the open girls' 100-metre free, ninth, in the 50m free, 11th, 100m I.M., but missed OFSAA qualifying times.

This year's WOSSAA championship had the extra challenge of rescheduling the event, twice within a week, due to cancellations of bus services over foggy weather.

East Elgin Secondary school, the WOSSAA host and convenor of the sport, also had to find a new venue, after the original site, the Canada Games Aquatic Centre was unavailable. Kudos to the group, which includes Steve Voros, Annette Martin, Shannon Williams and Carol McNiece.

London Banting won both the boys and girls' team title, to handily take the overall team championship.