Rec Club Ultimate Team Returns to Winning Ways
The weekend of October 18 to 20, 2019 was a monumental one for the University of Manitoba’s Ultimate Club, as it notched top prize at the Canadian University Ultimate Championships (CUUC) in Brampton, Ont.
The U of M’s Ultimate Club came in first out of more than 20 teams from top post-secondary institutions across Canada, just one year after finishing in seventh place.
Recreation Services at the U of M offers Ultimate as one of many recreational and competitive sports leagues, organized and led by student volunteers.
We chatted with volunteer Ultimate president (and member of the 2019 championship team) Aaron Klymasz-Swartz about his experiences with the Ultimate Club and why he loves being part of it.
Why did you decide to become the president of the Ultimate Club?
In 2018, our club no longer had an active leadership core. I wanted to rebuild the team, since the previous core group of players had taken a year off in 2017. I knew if I could put time into finding enthusiastic players, I would have help to get the club back to its former glory. We had won the CUUC in 2014 and finished second in 2015. I have played ultimate my entire life; multiple family members such as my father and uncle also play for various teams. I started my competitive ultimate career in 2013, playing for the Junior Provincial Team, Manitou, and I attended my first National Championship tournament in 2013. Since then, I have competed in six National Championships and five University Championships for various men’s teams representing Manitoba.
What have you learned by being Ultimate Club president?
Beyond just attending games and practices, I’ve learned about the back-end paperwork and organizational skills needed to operate the club. I have learned how to be flexible and organized by leading practices and coordinating meetings with teammates, captains and Recreation Services. I have also gained skills like managing club fees, booking travel accommodations, and even jersey design.
What are some of the social and or physical benefits of participating in ultimate?
Ultimate is a very run-intensive sport, requiring a high degree of athleticism at the competitive level. For most people, starting to play ultimate is challenging because of the amount of running but everyone has to start somewhere and we encourage everyone to try it out! Being a part of the team has a huge social benefit, as we all bond together during practices, events and tournaments. The fall season is a great way to get exercise outside and to travel to various tournaments, representing the University of Manitoba on the national stage.
Are there any specific tournaments/achievements you want to highlight about this club?
The Ultimate Club attends two tournaments annually with plans attend even more next year. Our two main tournaments occur in the fall and are weekend traveling tournaments run by Ultimate Canada. The first is the Canadian Prairie University Ultimate Championships held in Saskatchewan. There, our club competes against teams from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba for a chance to qualify for the National Championship. If we have enough players to send multiple teams, both our competitive team and recreational teams can participate at this friendly tournament.
The second tournament we attend is the Canadian University Ultimate Championships. This tournament is geared towards our competitive team and is our chance to compete for a national title. The tournament is held in Ontario or Quebec, depending on the year, and is a weekend tournament full of very high level ultimate teams from across the country. This year, more than 1000 male and female athletes competed in the tournament in Brampton, Ont. and represented more than 20 different universities.
Why do you think it’s important for students to join a Rec Club?
The Ultimate Club has been a great way for me, personally, to exercise after school and take my mind off of studying. I like the competitive aspect of the sport and the chance to compete for a championship with my teammates every year. Seeing our team succeed makes me feel proud to be a part of our community.
The University of Manitoba’s Recreation Services Rec Clubs include badminton, climbing, ringette, rugby, soccer, synchronized skate, tennis, table tennis, ultimate, volleyball and wrestling.