VANCOUVER – It’s been a big year so far for promising sprint freestyler Yuri Kisil of Calgary.
The 17-year-old is adding another memorable moment to his 2014: the decision to pursue his career at the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Vancouver.
Kisil, who will also study at the University of British Columbia, made his first senior national teams in 2014 following impressive performances at the Canadian Swimming Trials in Victoria in April.
“We’ve known for a couple of years he would be a great candidate for the Centre,’’ said Tom Johnson, head coach at the HPC-Vancouver. “Since we’ve been watching he’s progressed really nicely. He’s got the characteristics to step up and swim the 100-m freestyle at the world level.”
At the trials, the 17-year-old posted victories in both the 50-m freestyle and 100-m freestyle, 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.
“I really like the swim team at the Vancouver Centre and UBC,’’ said the 6’7” Kisil. “I thought about going to the U.S. but in the end it was important for me to stay in Canada and be close to home.”
In 2013, he was a member of the Canadian team at the FINA World Junior Championships in Dubai. He lowered the national age group record in the 50-m freestyle and helped Canada to two fourth-place finishes in relays and to fourth overall in the team standings.
“When you find a swimmer like that they are few and far between,’’ said Johnson. “But he indicated all along the Vancouver Centre was somewhere he was interested in exploring his options and to combine high performance swimming with his university studies.”
Kisil was developed at the Cascade Club in Calgary under Tom’s brother Dave Johnson.
“Dave has played a key role in my development,” said Kisil. “He had a great plan for me this season to get me on the national team. He made some great decisions and when the Trials came around I was ready.”