NIAGARA – Swimming earned the first four medals of the 2022 Canada Summer Games for British Columbia as Team BC put together a successful string of performances on the first day of competition in Niagara.
PHOTOS | RESULTS | LIVE STREAM
Julia Strojnowska (Vancouver) kicked off Team BC’s medal haul with a bronze in the Women’s 1500m Freestyle, racing to a time of 17:17.74. Aidan Erickson (Langley) followed with the first silver medal of the Games for Team BC in the Men’s 800m Freestyle with a time of 8:24.28.
"To have the opportunity to be the first Team BC medal winner is amazing. I could hear the drums and the Team BC fans – seeing them made me want to go faster,” said Strojnowska. “Thank you to my coach, he’s been helping me all year. I had times where I wasn’t feeling the best and didn’t want to swim and he made me enjoy it and thanks to him, I’m here."
Erickson’s silver was just the beginning for Team BC swimming. Later in the afternoon, BC’s 4x200m Relay Teams won back-to-back silver medals, with Strojnowska and Erickson joining with their teammates to put up times of 8:22.90 and 7:45.81, respectively.
Para-Swimming had a strong day in the pool against Canada’s toughest competition. Genny Verge (Sechelt) finished fourth, shaving seven seconds off her fastest posted time in the Women’s 200m(S1-5,S14) / 400m(S6-13) Freestyle Para, while teammate Cameron Chambers (West Kelowna) finished fifth and Sebastian Massabie finished 12th in the Men’s 200m(S1-5,S14) / 400m(S6-13) Freestyle Para.
“We are extremely proud of our swimmers, who earned the first medals for Team BC in these Games,” said Cory Beatt, Swimming Technical Director. “The team came together with great support and an undeniable presence on the pool deck and in the water.”
Women’s Box Lacrosse made its Canada Games debut on Sunday in a historic moment for the sport in Canada. Team BC took on Ontario in a tightly contested goalie duel that saw the host team shut out the visitors 5-0. BC’s squad peppered the Ontario goalie with a number of high-quality shots but were unable to find the back of the net.
“It’s incredible. It’s something that these girls can’t do past a certain age,” said Head Coach Ashley Bull. “Now that it's at a national level and people can tune in and watch and a lot of them see for the first time, it’s going continue to grow the sport and make it more well known.”
On the diamond, baseball and women’s softball combined to sweep their opponents. Softball didn’t allow a single run on the way to 7-0 and 5-0 victories over Prince Edward Island and a strong Manitoba side. Pitchers Kiwi Fournier (Victoria) and Morgan Reimer (Langley) held down the mound for BC with two complete game performances.
“We were up against a good pitcher and good team, said Head Coach Mark Dunlop. “We played good defense, and when we needed to execute offensively, we did.”
“I had confidence in my all my pitches and trusted my team completely both on defense and offense,” added Reimer.
Baseball capped off a winning day under the lights with a 7-3 comeback victory over Team Ontario. After allowing two runs in the first inning, pitcher Noah Bourgeois (Cloverdale) settled in to deliver a complete game and hold the hosts to one run over the last six innings. Angelo Franco (Burnaby) hit a momentum shifting home run in the fifth inning to extend BC’s lead.
“This morning we had our game with Nova Scotia which settled our nerves before playing Ontario,” said Franco after the second game. “I had a few good at bats early and in the fifth, took my chance when I got it, and it paid off.”
Tennis dropped their team matchup against a polished Quebec squad on a windy day. But one of the best highlights of the day came from Team BC’s Leena Bennetto (Vernon) and Emma Dong (Coquitlam), who put together an unlikely comeback to win their doubles match. Down a set and facing a 5-2 deficit in the second set, the pair showed remarkable stamina to rally and claim the second set before riding that momentum into a strong third set and the win.
For the full schedule and results from the 2022 Canada Summer Games, click here.
More Words from Team BC
“It feels amazing, honestly. It’s my very first time at a Games and it is so amazing to meet everyone. I didn’t expect there to be a team of 31 swimmers! And now I know each by name and what they like to eat. Today's practice felt good. The pool is a new environment so I just focused on the lane ropes and where I was in the pool. I am really excited to compete!” - Hailey Borowski, Special Olympics Swimming Athlete
“It feels amazing to be here at the Games. The atmosphere here is awesome and everything is so well organized. We are very grateful for it all! Super happy to get a practice in this morning with Team Manitoba. It is very hot and humid but the courts are awesome and it felt great to be out on the sand. Really looking forward to getting started with competition on Monday!” – Dan Everton, Beach Volleyball Athlete
"The kind volunteers, clean accommodations and beautiful facilities have us feeling ready and eager to start competing tomorrow. Today's practice was about focusing on our team, getting more comfortable with the different conditions of the venue and appreciating the opportunity to represent BC at these Games.” - Julia Soeller, Beach Volleyball Athlete
What’s on tomorrow?
The following list may not be exhaustive, please check the full host schedule here.
9 a.m. - Tennis Team Mix vs Ontario - Niagara-on-the-Lake Tennis Club
9 a.m. - Beach Volleyball (M) vs Manitoba - Canada Games Park
9:30 a.m. - Swimming Preliminary Races - Brock University Eleanor Misener Aquatics Centre
10:45 a.m. - Basketball (M) vs Newfoundland - Meridian Centre
11:30 a.m. - Triathlon (M) Sprint Final - Welland International Flatwater Centre
12 p.m. - Cycling Mountain Biking (F) Cross Country Race Final - Twelve Mile Creek
12:45 p.m. - Beach Volleyball (F) vs New Brunswick - Canada Games Park
1 p.m. - Triathlon (F) Sprint Final - Welland International Flatwater Centre
2 p.m. - Box Lacrosse (F) vs Alberta - Canada Games Park
2 p.m. - Softball (F) vs Nova Scotia - Southward Community Park
2:30 p.m. - Cycling Mountain Biking (M) Cross Country Race Final - Twelve Mile Creek
3:22 p.m. - Rugby Sevens vs PEI - Brock University Alumni Field
4 p.m. - Baseball vs Saskatchewan - Oakes Park
4:30 p.m. - Soccer (M) vs Newfoundland - Youngs Sportsplex
5:15 p.m. - Beach Volleyball (M) vs New Brunswick - Canada Games Park
6 p.m. - Swimming Finals - Brock University Eleanor Misener Aquatics Centre
7:44 p.m. - Rugby Sevens vs Quebec - Brock University Alumni Field
7:45 p.m. - Basketball (F) vs Alberta - Niagara College Welland Campus