By Thomas Becker
The Dalhousie Tigers were dominant in Day 1 of the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) Swimming Championships.
Led by Gavin Dyke and Lise Cinq-Mars, the Tigers won 10 of 12 events while capturing 18 medals along the way.
Dyke's gold-medal time of 1:50.59 in the 200m freestyle qualified him for the U Sports nationals later this month. He also earned gold in the 4x100m relay and silver in the 100m butterfly.
Teammate Cinq-Mars captured gold in the women's 100m butterfly with a time of 1:02.90, good enough to qualify for nationals. She was also part of a gold-medal performance in the women's 4x100m relay and captured bronze in the 200m freestyle.
"Our team had good, gritty performances tonight," said Tigers head coach Lance Cansdale. "A lot of our kids aren't quite polished yet, but as a coach I want to see that durability."
Despite capturing 10 wins on Friday, Cansdale wants to see his team continue to put up winning times throughout the weekend.
"I like to see us get better each day," he said. "As a coach I preach that this is a marathon, not a sprint."
Memorial's Veronica Reid and UNB's Justin LeBlanc took home the other two gold medals in the women's and men's 100m breastroke to round out the champions.
Memorial finished with six medals (one gold, three silver and two bronze), while Acadia finished with six as well (three silver and three bronze). Mount Allison came in fourth with a silver and two bronze.
"There's a lot of improvement in this conference," said Cansdale, who's expecting the same level of competition in remaining days of the meet. "We've got a big target on our back, but we're ready for it."
The UPEI Panthers, meanwhile, set a milestone in the first day of the championship, earning their first medal in four years. Matthew Smith captured a bronze medal for the host team in the 200m freestyle, behind stars Dyke and Mount Allison's Geraint Berger.
"I didn't see it coming," Smith said. "Before the race I was pretty nervous, but making it on the podium was a great surprise."
Panthers coach Tony Theriault was encouraged by what he saw from his team and is looking forward to the days ahead.
"We may be small in size and playing with the big boys, but there's no reason why we can't be competitive," he said. "We thought if we swam the races and executed them to the best of our abilities then the performances would come."