SWIMMING: Veldman qualifies for NCAAs

Josh Buckman

For the second straight year, Western senior backstroker Gord Veldman qualified for the 100-yard backstroke at the NCAA Championships.

Veldman became the lone Hilltopper to qualify this season after setting a career best 47.96 on March 8 at the Indiana University Invitational. The time ranks him 20th in the field of 51.

Last season Veldman finished 18th, and narrowly missed competing in the consolation finals, ninth through 18th, by .06 hundredths of a second. This year he will try to earn a spot in the top eight in order to receive All-American honors.

“I’m hoping he can get All-American honors,” head swimming coach Bill Powell said. “I’m also hoping he swims faster than his current best.”

Many of the swimmers who competed last year will be returning making things difficult for Veldman. However he feels that he will be trained both mentally and physically.

“I don’t think I was ready last year. I’m not a morning swimmer,” Veldman said. “This year I’ve been training in the mornings.”

By qualifying for the NCAA’s Veldman will add another accomplishment to his already impressive swimming resum?. Last year he finished second at Canadian National Championships in the 50-meter backstroke and represented his native Canada at the Commonwealth and Pan-Pacific Games.

He is currently ranked 24th in the world in the 50-meter backstroke according to Swimming World Magazine.

The NCAA Championships will be held at the University of Texas in Austin on March 27-29.

On the women’s’ side, junior diver Marci Kacsir concluded her season after failing to qualify for the NCAA’s at Zone B at Auburn University.

On Friday Kacsir finished 35th in the three meter event with a score of 219.05. The next day she scored 207.90 in the one meter event and also finished 35th.

“I had a really good warm up,” Kacsir said. “It just didn’t pan out during the meet.”

Powell believes that the meet was hard because of the talent of Kacsir’s competitors.

“It was very stiff competition at this zone,” Powell said. “Many of the divers who qualified will make it to (NCAA) finals.”

Reach Josh Buckman at [email protected]