By Larry Moko, Special to The News
When asked for an interview by a reporter at poolside during the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association swimming championships at McMaster University, Martyn Siek said he knew of a better place to talk.
A spot where the screaming from enthusiastic fans wasn’t going to be as much of a distraction.
“I’ve been here (at Mac) for decades,” Siek said. “I know every nook and cranny of this place.”
An 18-year-old student at Bishop Tonnos, Siek has spent countless hours in the water at Mac as a member of the Hamilton Aquatic Club and, most recently, the Golden Horseshoe Aquatic Club. This year he’s doing a co-op placement at Mac and McMaster swim coach Andrew Cole is actively recruiting him to join the talented Marauders squad.
“I’ve been practising here as long as I can remember,” Siek said. “Sometimes eight or nine times a week, depending on school schedules. I’ve had a long and dedicated history to the sport. I really like it.”
Siek is the defending Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations champion in the 100-metre individual medley (59.3 seconds). And at the seven-school city competition involving about 250 swimmers, he won three gold medals. His times have qualified for the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference championships at the University of Guelph on Thursday, Feb. 21.
The 2013 OFSAA swimming championships are March 5-6 at the Etobicoke Olympium.
When the 2013 city championships concluded, Siek and his younger brother Adam prepared, along with a handful of other elite city club swimmers, travelled to Montreal for the Eastern Canadian national short-course championships.
“I felt relaxed,” Siek said of his early victories in the 200-metre freestyle and 100-metre IM. “I accomplished what I need to accomplish. In Montreal, I hope to make the finals and make a national qualifying time.”
Coach Cole, whose Marauders are preparing for the Feb. 21-23 CIS finals in Calgary, said he’s hopeful of attracting Siek to his hometown school.
“I think we’re first on his list at this point,” Cole said. “He’s a great kid. His attitude seems to blend with the philosophy of our program. He’s so positive. He would be a tremendous fit. Martyn has a very bright future.”
At the team level, the St. Thomas More Knights took the overall title for the 12th time in the past 13 years. Last season, the Bishop Tonnos Titans interrupted that streak of championships.
“Not only do you have to have really good swimmers, you have to have a large team,” said Brian Grajales, the third-year Tonnos coach who served as convenor for the Catholic championships. “The more entries you have, the more points you can accumulate. This year at Tonnos we were lacking the numbers we had last year.”
Grajales believes that three or four swimmers from the HWCAA have a good shot at bringing home medals from OFSAA next month.