Jeremy Laurie, UBC Athletics
VANCOUVER - After six days of competition between 933 athletes from 164 countries, the 2016 FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor, Ontario has ended. With Canada as host nation, Canadian swimmers had some extra incentive to deliver on the international stage. Thanks in part to the efforts of a pair of UBC Thunderbirds, Canada finished with one gold, one silver, and three bronze medals.
UBC swimming head coach Steve Price was proud of the performances of UBC's four swimmers in attendance, especially considering the added pressure of competing in an international competition.
"They did quite well. They are student athletes going into world championships against…pro-level swimmers. It was pretty impressive," noted Price.
After Canadian Olympian Taylor Madison Ruck closed out Tuesday's competition with a bronze medal performance in the women's 200 freestyle, UBC swimmers Yuri Kisil and Markus Thormeyer entered the 50m mixed freestyle finals the following morning. Their efforts resulted in Canada's second consecutive bronze, with their 1:29.83 finish only .01 seconds behind the Netherlands silver medal performance.
Decorated Olympian Penny Oleksiak helped secure Canada's lone gold medal in Saturday's 4x200 relay, while Windsor native Kylie Masse picked up a Silver medal in the 100 backstroke in front of a roaring hometown crowd. UBC's Luke Reilly and Stefan Milosevic also competed in the competition. While they were unable to reach the podium, the international exposure and experience was certainly something to celebrate.
Price acknowledged how the experience in Windsor was beneficial for all four T-Birds in attendance.
"Marcus was on a seasonal best throughout. I think the learning experience for him was huge. He went to Olympics [and] swam a relay, this time he got to swim an individual event and that's always great for experience," said Price.
"Luke Reilly was nursing aback injury all fall long, and the fact he stepped up and gave it a go was quite good. I think for a pretty young men's team [this is] going to bode well for them over the next four years as they aim towards Tokyo."
Price was particularly impressed with the performance of Yuri 'The Missile' Kisil, who certainly lived up to his nickname.
"Yuri had a pretty consistent week, and found the podium. I think it's a big step forward for him in his evolvement towards international swimming. He has consistently gotten faster and faster each year [and] he rises to the occasion. I think he's a force to be reckoned with."
Though the next Olympics in 2020 are nearly four years away, success in Windsor showed there is plenty of potential in this young UBC Thunderbirds swim team.