Nine new swimmers are joining the Laurentian Voyageurs women’s swim team, said head coach Phil Parker.
They will cover many different disciplines and will look to help get the team into the top of the OUA.
Amber Champion, a freestyler from Collingwood, will be enrolled in the Outdoor Adventure Leadership program at Laurentian in September. Champion is an outdoor enthusiast who is no stranger to the elite provincial swimming scene after competing in the Ontario Summer Games.
For Champion, it’s the competition that brings her to the pool day after day.
“You can’t beat the feeling of out-touching someone at the wall. It really brings out my competitive side,” said Champion.
A backstroke and freestyle specialist from Owen Sound, Erika Lau was twice named her club’s Most Valuable Swimmer in 2011 and again in 2013. The future Kinesiology student has only been in the water for the last few years, focusing on swimming when she was 14.
When asked about what drives her to swim, Lau mentions the constant opportunity for improvement as one of the main factors.
“It’s great because your teammates become your family.”
Julia Nowicki will be joining the Voyageurs out of Toronto. The backstroke swimmer is familiar with the national swimming scene, having qualified for provincials, age group nationals and junior national championships throughout her young career.
A future Nursing student, Nowicki is looking forward to developing a close bond with her teammates.
“I look forward to being part of a new swim team and getting to know new people,” said the honour roll student. “Your teammates are like your second family and the relationship you share with them is very unique.”
Kirkland Lake’s Linda Ferguson will also be joining the Voyageurs in the fall. The future Radiation Therapy student is a 16-time provincial qualifier and a three-time age group national qualifier and it was a familiarity that helped her make a decision on her post-secondary choice.
“I’ve known coach Phil for a long time and I am familiar with the school and swim program,” the sprinter said. “I look forward to swimming for a wonderful swim coach and with a team where everyone is similar in age and has similar goals.”
Darcie Stanton, a butterfly specialist out of Waterdown, will be enrolling in the Honours History program. The honour roll student enjoys swimming as much for the mental strength as the physical strength.
“I love swimming because it is such a great stress relief,” said Stanton. “When I am having a rough day and show up at the pool with all of my friends, I cannot help but already feel better.”
Loren O’Brien-Egesborg will also be attending Laurentian in the fall. While the backstroke may be her favourite stroke, it is the breaststroke that has seen O’Brien-Egesborg celebrate her biggest successes. The future Études Journalistique student set a national record earlier this year in the Para SB9 50m breaststroke race while claiming a pair of gold medals in the Para SB9 50m and 100m breaststroke.
For O’Brien-Egesborg, personal achievement is a driving force in her swimming.
“I love the rush of competing in swimming,” she said. “I also love the excitement I get from successfully completing a hard practice or shaving off a lot of time in a race.”
Cassie Beach from the Aurora Ducks will also be joining the Voyageurs in the fall. Beach is coming off a fantastic summer of racing having qualified for her first provincial championships of her swim career at the Central Regional Championships this past June. She will be looking to build on that success as a member of the Voyageurs.
Local Sudbury standout Julie Langlois will also be donning the Blue and Gold this fall. Langlois has been competitive on the provincial scene since she was 12 years old and recently competed at the 2012 Canadian Olympic Trials in the 50m and 100m freestyle events. She is looking forward to developing her sprinting abilities while studying Promotion de la santé here at Laurentian.
Parker rounded out his recruiting class for the women’s team with Repentigny, Que., product Léa Paulus. The long-distance powerhouse came in third in the Canadian five-km open-water championships and first in the 200m freestyle at the Cégep Provincial Championships.
The future psychologie du sport student says the best part about swimming is the fact it is a complete sport, using almost every muscle in your body.
“We are extremely excited to have such a big crop of recruits coming this fall. Laurentian University has done a fantastic job with rolling out the red carpet for the recruits when they come to visit this beautiful city and campus,” Parker said. “The talent and experience of these incoming ladies is like getting nine first-round draft picks. These ladies all have the ability to step right in and make a huge impact on the program. The vets are just as excited to get back here in September and get the season started. The excitement seems to be growing as we get closer and closer to Sept. 4.”
With the women’s recruits finalized, Parker will be on the deck of the Olympic Gold Pool to make sure the Voyageurs will be in top form come September. Follow www.luvoyageurs.com for up-to-date news on the swim teams and all of your Voyageurs.