Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's Female Swimmers Voted Canadian Press Team of the Year

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's Female Swimmers Voted Canadian Press Team of the Year

Article excerpt

Women's swimmers are CP's team of year

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Canada's female swimmers soared to unexpected heights in 2016.

Six Olympic medals followed by another seven in home water at the world short-course championship launched Canada as a world power in women's swimming.

Capping off a remarkable year, the Canadian women's swim team was crowned the Canadian Press team of the year Wednesday.

"Without the female swimmers leading the way, Canada's effort at the Rio Olympics is middling," Medicine Hat News sports editor Sean Rooney said. "With them, it's arguably the best we've ever done in a summer Olympiad.

"The fact they weren't expected to do nearly as well is a boon to both national pride and female athletics as a whole."

It's only the third time in a half-century that a women's team has earned the award. The women's soccer team (2012) and the Sandra Schmirler curling rink (1998) were the others.

In a survey of editors and broadcasters across the country, the women's swim team received 15 votes (23 per cent) ahead of the runner-up Toronto Raptors with 11 votes (17 per cent) and the third-place Toronto Blue Jays with nine votes (14 per cent).

"They may make more money than us, but man, we get to win this one," joked Olympic backstroke bronze medallist Hilary Caldwell.

"We had a very long drought in women's swimming in Canada where we hadn't won an Olympic medal," she continued. "I think 1996 was the last time, so 20 years, and then we came home with six.

"The fact that Canada is talking about us and getting excited about what we're doing as a women's team is really, really . . . it's a proud moment for me."

There was a wide range of opinions on the team award this year as the women's Olympic soccer team, Ottawa Redblacks, men's World Cup hockey team and Toronto FC ranged between five and seven votes each.

The award has been dominated by men's teams. The Blue Jays were runaway winners last year. The Olympic men's hockey team took it in 2014 and the Saskatchewan Roughriders were the team of the year in 2013.

But when Canadians tuned in to watch the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, they saw the women's freestyle relay team win their country's first medal. …

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