(HALIFAX, NS) Justin LeBlanc(Dieppe, NB) saved his best for the last day of Dalhousie University's Kemp-Fry Invitational Swim Meet.
LeBlanc, who'd come tantalizingly close on Friday and Saturday, finally stamped his ticket to the U Sports Canada championships, qualifying in the men's 50 metre breaststroke.
LeBlanc won Sunday's final in 28.67 seconds, well under the qualifying standard of 29.23 seconds, and just two-tenths of a second off the current Atlantic University Sport record in the event.
The Varsity Reds' Noah Horwood(Fredericton, NB )finished 7th, just seven-tenths of a second off the qualifying standard.
"It's an honour to have qualified for USports," said LeBlanc. "Countless athletes that I hold with high esteem compete at this meet, and I'm proud to be given the opportunity to represent the UNB community."
In Friday's 50 metre breaststroke preliminaries, LeBlanc fell a tenth of a second shy of the standard. On Saturday, in the men's 100 metre breaststroke prelims, he missed the U Sports standard by five-one-hundredths of a second.
"Apart from a heightened sense of urgency, there was no difference today," said LeBlanc. "That said, the energy from my teammates certainly helped propel me to perform at the best of my ability."
"It was an incredible swim," said Varsity Reds head coach Robin Ferdinand. "He channeled his disappointment in narrowly missing those standards previously to fuel his fire for the 50 tonight."
LeBlanc joins Lauren Adam(Fredericton, NB), who qualified for the U Sports championships in the women's 50 metre breaststroke on Friday.
"It's great for them to be qualified in the first half of the season," said Ferdinand. "Lauren is still in recovery mode from an injury, so now we can focus on strength and endurance to help in her longer events. And, after a year and a half away from the pool, Justin is swimming lifetime bests as a fifth year athlete."
While the Varsity Reds celebrated LeBlanc's success, the host Dal Tigers and McGill celebrated team victories.
Dalhousie women won four of eight individual events and were first in the 400 metre medley relay. McGill's women captured three finals, for second place in the team standings. UNB was sixth.
McGill captured the men's title after winning three finals on Sunday. The Tigers placed second in the team standings. The Varsity Reds finished fifth.
The next AUS meet is scheduled for January 21 and 22, at Dalhousie, in advance of the AUS championships at UPEI, in February.
1. Dalhousie - 910
2. McGill - 731
3. Memorial - 300
4. Mount Allison - 297
5. Acadia - 284
6. UNB - 267
7. UPEI - 64
1. McGill - 915
2. Dalhousie - 850.5
3. Acadia - 399
4. Memorial - 289
5. UNB - 103
6. Mt. A - 178.5
7. UPEI - 41
RECAP BY: UNB Athletics with files from Dal Athletics
PHOTO BY: Trevor MacMillan, for Dal Athletics