UBC Men's Swimming Finalizes Strong Recruiting Class


UBC men's swimming finalizes strong recruiting class
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Yuri Kisil
Yuri Kisil will swim for Canada at the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships before heading to UBC
VANCOUVER – One of Canada's best young swimmers is the headliner of a strong incoming recruiting class for the UBC Thunderbirds men's team.
Calgarian Yuri Kisil, a sprint freestyler who will be competing at this summer's Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships, is one of five athletes who have committed to swimming for UBC, beginning in the upcoming 2014-15 season.
Freestyler Marshal Parker and butterfly swimmer Connor Wilkins join transfers Keegan Zanatta, a freestyle specialist from the University of Victoria, and Karl Wolk, a butterfly specialist who has competed for the universities of Florida and Calgary, as the other members of head coach Steve Price's recruiting class.
"We are excited to have Yuri swim for the blue and gold next season and add to an already outstanding young men's team," remarked Price. "He is a bright spot in Canadian swimming and will ascend to be tough competitor internationally with his debut at the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships this summer.
"With the five key recruits and three transfers joining the women's and men's teams next season we will continue challenge for the Canada West and CIS championships. We look forward to the 2014-15 season starting in September."
Kisil made his first senior national teams in 2014 following impressive performances at the Canadian Swimming Trials in Victoria in April. He made the cut for both the Commonwealth Games July 23-Aug. 3 in Glasgow, Scotland, and the Pan Pacific Championships Aug. 21-25 in Gold Coast, Australia.
At the trials, the 17-year-old posted victories in both the 50- and 100-metre freestyle races, becoming the youngest Canadian ever under 50 seconds in the 100 at 49.87. A few weeks later he was part of the Male Junior Relay Initiative, which won three silver medals in the relays at the U.S. Grand Prix in Charlotte, N.C.
"I am excited about coming to Vancouver and swimming with the UBC Thunderbirds in September," said Kisil. "I know that the team has a great group of swimmers that will push me to excel. This, in combination with the exceptional coaching staff, I believe, will help me reach my swimming goals and become a world-class swimmer."
In 2013, Kisil was a member of the Canadian team at the FINA World Junior Championships in Dubai. He lowered the national age group record in the 50m freestyle and helped Canada to two fourth-place finishes in relays and to fourth overall in the team standings.
Parker, a native of Sylvan Lake, Alta., is part of Canada's Male Junior Relay Initiative program, which is part of a strategy to develop the next generation of Canadian men's freestyle relay teams. He was on the Canadian squad that claimed bronze in the 4x100m medley relay at the 2014 Arena Grand Prix at Charlotte.
Last year, Parker finished seventh in the 200m freestyle event at the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que., a race won by current T-Bird Jon Brown. Parker also won the B final of the 50m butterfly at the same games.
Wilkins heads west after swimming with the Oakville Aquatic Club in Ontario. He placed 14th in the 200m butterfly with a time of two minutes and 5.06 seconds at the Canadian Swimming Trials, which took place in April in Victoria.
In his two years representing the Victoria Vikes, Zanatta won three medals at the CIS championships, including gold in the 400m freestyle (3:45.85) at the 2014 meet in Toronto. The Claremont Secondary graduate has also won bronze in the 200m freestyle the last two years at the CIS championships.
Wolk swam at Florida during the 2010-11 season before moving to Calgary to represent the Cascade Swim Club while attending the University of Calgary. He swam for Canada at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships in Irvine, Calif.
Kisil, Parker, Wilkins, Wolk and Zanatta strengthen a young UBC squad that has finished second at the CIS championships the last two years. The team will look to improve on that placing at this year's national meet Feb. 19-21 in Victoria. The Canada West championships have been permanently moved up on the calendar and will run this season Nov. 21-23 in Lethbridge, Alta.
- with files from Nathan White (Swimming Canada)