Vikes set to compete in PanAm Games

The local contingent strong at this month’s Pan American Games, where 22 University of Victoria Vikes are competing

The local contingent will be strong at this month’s Pan American Games, where 22 University of Victoria Vikes are competing. An additional four former Vikes are also travelling to the July 11 to 26 Toronto event as staff.

The world’s third largest international multi-sport games, the event includes 48 events, followed Aug. 7 to 15 by the 17-sport Parapan Am Games.

The largest Vikes contingent is in rowing where current Vike Jacob Koudys will cox the men’s eight alongside former Vike Kai Langerfeld. Langerfeld will also compete in the men’s four, while alumni Saul Garcia-Alvarez will race the lightweight double and Nicolas Pratt will race the lightweight four.

On the women’s side, Antje von Seydlitz, part of the 2014 quad crew that came second at the World Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland, will compete in the double and quad events.

In swimming, Olympians and former Vikes Ryan Cochrane, Hillary Caldwell and Alec Page will be after a spot at Rio 2016. In 2012, Page was the youngest member of the Canadian Olympic men’s swimming team at the age of 18 and races the 400IM and 200IM. Cochrane, a two-time Olympian, will be looking to top the platform after his bronze in 2008 and silver in 2012 in the 1500m freestyle. Cochrane is the Canadian record-holder in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle.

Caldwell competed at the 2012 Olympics, finishing 18th in the 200m backstroke, and was the bronze medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the same event.

In field hockey, current Vike Brenden Bissett and former Vike Matthew Sarmento will dress for team Canada’s men’s squad to secure their Rio 2016 spot. Following an impressive fourth-place finish at the Hockey World League Semi Final, Canada almost guaranteed their spot at next summer’s Olympics.

On the women’s side, Thea Culley, Danielle Hennig and Kaitlyn Williams will lead a young field hockey group with one last chance to qualify for the Olympics.

In rugby, former Vikes Phil Mack, Nathan Hirayama and Sean Duke will kit up for the sevens team alongside Vikes John Moonlight, Mike Fuailefau, Lucas Hammond and Justin Douglas.

Mack has been a mainstay on the HSBC Seven Series in recent years and at the end of the 2013-14 season, where Canada finished sixth, he was named to the World Series Dream Team. This past season, Mack played in only two events as he battled injury. Canada’s men’s team is the defending gold medalists after beating Argentina 26-24 in the 2011 final. Canada is drawn into Pool B with Argentina, Brazil and Guyana.

Former Vikes cross-country and track runner Ellen Pennock will compete in triathlon alongside teammate and five-time World Triathlon series winner Paula Findlay. Pennock, a World Cup silver medalist, represented Canada at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and was CIS cross-country rookie of the year with the Vikes in 2011.

At the Parapan Am Games, wheelchair basketball’s Janet McLachlan will undoubtedly be one to watch. The two-time Olympian helped Canada win gold at the 2014 World Championship, also hosted in Toronto, while with the Vikes she was a two-time CIAU National Champion (1998 and 2000).

Opening ceremonies begin on July 10, while events begin July 11. For a full schedule, results and more visit http://toronto2015.org.