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Zakala breaks 32-year-old record, Hanus medals twice on Day 1 of U SPORTS Swimming Championship

*See original story here* VANCOUVER – The University of Victoria Vikes swimming teams had a successful Day 1 of the 2019 U SPORTS Odlum Brown Swimming Championships, hosted Feb. 21-23 at the UBC Aquatics Centre in Vancouver. Three short course and three long course school records were broken, while Vikes Danielle Hanus and Josh Zakala medalled in their individual events. Three Vikes also raced qualifying standards for the 30th Summer Universiade FISU games. Both Vikes teams sit fifth in the team standings.
All three short course school records broken came in the men's preliminary races as Bailey Espersen's 28.65 beat teammate Daniel Greer's 2018 record in the 50-m breaststroke of 28.77. In the 100-m backstroke, Buzz Mallender beat a nine-year-old record time of 54.89 set by Nick Sinclair in 2010. Mallender finished eighth in preliminaries in a time of 54.70. The third record was set by Zakala in the 200-m individual medley. Zakala's preliminary race of 1:59.93 beat a 1987 record held by UVic Sports Hall of Fame inductee Jon Kelly in 2:00.58. Kelly won seven gold and nine silver medals at the CIAU national championships in the mid-1980s and represented Canada at the 1988 Olympic Games.

Hanus picked up her first medal of the championship in the 100-m backstroke. After qualifying with a time of 57.71 in preliminaries behind Toronto star and Olympic bronze medallist Kylie Masse (56.38), Hanus raced a 1:01.56 in the final to finish with a silver. Masse broke her own U SPORTS record with a 59.33 for gold.
"They were really good swims for her," said Vizsolyi about Hanus' silver and bronze medals earned. "She was way better on the back end which is what she is trying to work on. She's a very good short course swimmer so for her to get up and do a good performance in the long course was great. She is an international level swimmer competing at FISU last time around and last summer she was swimming for Canada."
In the men's 100-m backstroke fifth-year Vike Mallender pushed hard to earn a sixth-place finish in 56.95 to qualify for the FISU World Universiade games after earning the last qualification spot for the A Final. UBC standout and Olympian Markus Thormeyer set a U SPORTS record to win the event in 53.78.
First-year Victoria native Jamie Hellard raced an impressive morning preliminary to qualify for the B Final where she went on to place sixth in that final and 14th overall in the 50-m breaststroke. Hellard finished in a time of 33.99. Fourth-year Vike Kara Wilson finished first in the C Final to take 17th place in a time of 33.86.

In the men's 50-m breaststroke Vikes Espersen and Greer competed in the B Final and finished 14th and 15th, respectively. Espersen timed in at 29.87, while Greer was 29.91. Arthur Firmino finished 21st in 30.10.
"We have a Masters student that is basically at his first nationals and made his second swim and only qualified for this meet two weeks ago so that was so great for him," said Vizsolyi on Firmino.
In the women's 400-m freestyle, fifth-year Vike Kaitlin Gervais was just short of qualifying for the A Final finishing 4:17.15 in preliminaries, while the eighth seed was 4:16.63. In the B Final Gervais touched in third to finish 11th overall in 4:26.10. First-year Lauren Taylor finished 20th in 4:31.32. 

Vikes open water specialists Zakala and Eric Hedlin had impressive final times in the men's 400-m freestyle to both hit qualifying standards for FISU Games. Hedlin missed the A Final qualification after finishing 10th in the preliminaries in 3:54.27, while he raced to 3:59.09 to win the long course B Final with a faster time than three swimmers in the A Final.
"Eric was in Australia for an open water competition, came home for 10 days and then was in Qatar for another open water competition and didn't arrive back until Sunday night," described Vizsolyi of Hedlin, who has topped the podium at nationals in years previous. "There has been a lot of travel with a lot of time differences. He is not as good at short course as he is at long course so that's pretty tough to get up in the morning and get in to the A Final. It's definitely a hard situation to compete in."
Zakala just missed the podium in the 400-m freestyle finishing fourth in 3:59.03, while Ottawa's Davide Cesarin set the pace with a gold-medal time of 3:53.46. 
"It was a very hard day for Josh to go 400-m freestyle to 200-m individual medley back-to-back," added Vizsolyi. "He was good on the relay with a pretty good split time and he was pretty tough in the IM. He was only about one second over his life time best coming out of the 400 free. He struggled with not being quite as rested but he did a really good job and gave a good team performance."
Hanus earned her second medal of the night in the women's 100-m butterfly. The humanities major was third in preliminaries behind the Toronto duo of Rebecca Smith and Hannah Genich. In the final Hanus still trailed Smith or Genich and got on the podium for bronze in a FISU qualifying time of 1:00.61. Smith touched for gold in 59.03. 
"It went really, really well today and I was happy with the times," said Hanus at the end of Day 1. "Some of my times were faster than I have been all season, while others were slightly slower but not my much." 
In the men's 100-m butterfly Greer won the C Final in 55.49, while Ethan Jensen touched in 56.23 to finish 12th overall.
The Vikes' lone medal on the men's side came from Zakala's in the 200-m individual medley. The third year touched in 2:04.35, another FISU qualifying standard. Espersen was 22nd in 2:10.23, while Dumas was 24th in 2:11.47. The Vikes has two swimmers in the C Final of the women's 200-m individual medley with Alison Ballantyne finishing 19th in 2:27.23 and Wilson finishing 24th in 2:29.86.
Day 1 was capped by the 4x100-m medley relays that both set new school records.
"I thought they all swam really, really well and were right on their best times for the women and the men," highlighted Vizsolyi on the relay performances. "You can't ask for much more than that in a relay. Some were just below their best times and others were right on their best times." 
On the women's side, Vikes Hanus, Wilson, Ballantyne and Gervais finished just shy of the podium with a fourth-place group time of 4:20.89.
"It was a really hard race and we went to it not expecting too much," described Hanus about her team's relay race. "We wanted to go in, go with the flow and just see how things would go because all of us had other races before. We just went in to it thinking whatever happens, happens and we just left it all in the pool. The fact that both teams set school records today is super rewarding and so awesome to see all the hard work paying off.
The Vikes men of Mallender, Espersen, Greer and Zakala also finished fourth in a school record time of 3:48.29. Mallender's opening leg of the relay set a new long course record in the 100-m backstroke replacing another Nick Sinclair record.
"Buzz breaking Nick Sinclair's record in the 100 back was really great to see because it's a bit different in that Nick was an international level swimmer that trained year-round and as a varsity swimmer you don't always get that summer training," described Vizsolyi. "If you're breaking a record at that level being a varsity only swimmer means it was a pretty good performance."
The U SPORTS Swimming Championship continues tomorrow, Feb. 21, at the UBC Aquatics Centre with preliminaries at 10:00 a.m. and finals at 6:00 p.m. Day 2 events include the 200-m freestyle, 50-m backstroke, 100-m breastroke, 400-m individual medley, 50-m butterfly and 4x200-m freestyle relay. The event is available live at while live results are here.
Day 1 – UVIC Results
Day 1- Finals
W 100m Backstroke: Danielle Hanus^ (SILVER - 1:01.56 )
M 100m Backstroke: Buzz Mallender^ (6th - 56.95)
W 50m Breaststroke: Jamie Hellard (14th – 32.92), Kara Wilson (17th – 33.37)
M 50m Breaststroke: Bailey Espersen (14th – 29.87), Daniel Greer (15th - 29.91), Arthur Firmino (21st – 30.10)
W 400m Freestyle: Kaitlin Gervais (11th - 4:26.10), Lauren Taylor (20th - 4:31.32)
M 400m Freestyle: Josh Zakala^ (4th - 3:59.03), Eric Hedlin^ (9th - 3:59.09), Ethan Phillips (23rd – 4:08.64)
W 100m Butterfly: Danielle Hanus^ (BRONZE – 1:00.61)
M 100m Butterfly: Ethan Jensen (12th – 56.23), Daniel Greer (17th - 55.49)
W 200m Individual Medley: Allison Ballantyne (19th - 2:27.23 ), Kara Wilson (24th – 2:29.86)
M 200m Individual Medley: Josh Zakala^ (BRONZE – 2:04.35), Bailey Espersen (22nd – 2:10.23), Zachary Dumas (24th – 2:11.47)
W 4x100m Medley Relay: Danielle Hanus, Kara Wilson, Allison Ballantyne, Kaitlin Gervais (4th – 4:20.89)*
M 4x100m Medley Relay: Buzz Mallender*, Bailey Espersen, Daniel Greer, Josh Zakala (4th – 3:48.29)*
Vikes Records Broken
M 50m Breaststroke SC - Bailey Espersen (28.65)*
M 100m Backstroke SC – Buzz Mallender (54.70)*
M 200m Individual Medley SC – Josh Zakala (1:59.93)*
M 100m Backstroke LC in relay – Buzz Mallender (56.90)*
W 4x100m Medley Relay: Danielle Hanus, Kara Wilson, Allison Ballantyne, Kaitlin Gervais (4th – 4:20.89)*
M 4x100m Medley Relay: Buzz Mallender*, Bailey Espersen, Daniel Greer, Josh Zakala (4th – 3:48.29)*
*indicates Vikes Record
^indicates qualified for 2019 FISU Games
1. UBC, 500.5 points
2. Toronto, 389.5
3. Montreal, 252.5
4. Calgary, 188
5. Victoria, 131
6. Ottawa, 109
7. Alberta, 100
8. McGill, 99
9. Manitoba, 97.5
10. Laval, 86
11. Waterloo, 79
12. McMaster, 78
13. Dalhousie, 77
14. Western, 67
15. Regina, 44
16. Guelph, 42
17. Québec à Trois-Rivières, 41
18. Sherbrooke, 40
19. New Brunswick, 27
20. Laurentian, 18
21. Acadia, 7
21. Wilfrid Laurier, 7
23. Queens, 6
Men (Nelson C. Hart trophy)
1. Calgary, 372 points
2. UBC, 330.5
3. Toronto, 268
4. McGill, 240
5. Victoria, 182
6. Regina, 171
7. Montreal, 155
8. Ottawa, 137.5
9. Laval, 109
10. Lethbridge, 106.5
11. Alberta, 76
12. Western, 66
13. Dalhousie, 52
14. Laurentian, 31
15. Acadia, 30
15. Waterloo, 30
17. Manitoba, 29
18. Sherbrooke, 27
19. Queen's, 15
20. Brock, 12
21. Guelph, 3
22. Mount Allison, 2.5
23. McMaster, 1