National Champs Kisil, Zanatta Among Strong UBC Recruiting Class

The UBC Dolphins won the women’s team title at the 2014 CIS (Canadian collegiate) national meet, and their men placed 2nd. With that momentum, and a new pool behind them, the program has signed compact, but stellar, recruiting classes to begin in the fall of 2014.

That includes the country’s hot new male swimmer – Yuri Kisil, who won the men’s 100 free (49.87 – LCM) at this year’s Canadian National Championship meet and will race at the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacs. They’ve also signed transfer Keegan Zanatta from Victoria and Karl Wolk, a former swimmer at the University of Florida and the University of Calgary. Zanatta was 3rd in the 200 free at last year’s CIS Championships and was the CIS Champion in the 400 free. Those three additions alone should make UBC the favorites for next year’s men’s team title.

The women’s team doesn’t carry quite the same name recognition, but is still a solid class. Maia Brundage out of Scottsdale, Arizona is the tallest member of the group at 5’10”, and has a Canadian mother. She should be an immediate CIS scorer in the 400 and 800 freestyles at the CIS Championships, with a few other events possible as well.

Katherine Stamp, a short course specialist, falls into the “immediate scorer” category in the 100 fly and 100 backstroke events, and could fight for the backstroke spot on the defending CIS champion 400 medley relay with incumbent Sarah Mclean and another incoming freshman Jacomie Strydom.

Rounding out the women’s class is Molly Wedge, who transfers after three years with Dalhousie University. She was 11th at CIS’ last year in the 200 free, 10th in the 50 free, and 16th in the 100 free. UBC was dominant in the free relays, but they do have an open spot with the expiration of eligibility (CIS athletes get 5 years) of Brittney Harley.

See the complete releases for both programs below.

Men

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.

Women

VANCOUVER – Four student-athletes from across the continent will head to Vancouver to help the UBC Thunderbirds defend their place atop CIS women’s swimming.
 
The three-time defending CIS champion Thunderbirds welcome Maia Brundage, Katherine Stamp, Jacomie Strydom and Molly Wedge as the members of this year’s recruiting class for the UBC coaching staff.
 
MAIA BRUNDAGE (5-10 freestyle | Scottsdale, AZ)
 
Brundage, a 5-foot-10 freestyle swimmer is heading north from Scottsdale, Ariz., but has Canadian heritage through her mother.
 
As a 16 year old, the future Sauder School of Business student competed in five freestyle events at the 2012 Canadian Olympic Trials.
 
Brundage also finished 36th at the 2013 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships in Castaic Lake, Calif.
 
KATHERINE STAMP (5-9 backstroke, butterfly | Guelph, ON)
 
Stamp joins her sister, current T-Bird Erin, on the West Coast after swimming for the Guelph Marlins club.
 
Some of her best results this season included a personal-best time of 1 minute and 2.64 seconds in the 100-metre backstroke at the Eastern Canadian Swimming Championships in Windsor, Ont., where she placed fourth. At the same February meet, Stamp was fifth in the 50m backstroke (29.76).
 
She also had a fourth-place showing in the 100m butterfly at the Swim Ontario Age Group Championships, which took place at the end of February and beginning of March in London, Ont. Her time in that event was 1.03.57.
 
Also of note, Stamp’s mother, Jane Tregunno Stamp, is an Olympic medalist. She was part of the Canadian women’s coxed fours rowing team that won silver at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
 
JACOMIE STRYDOM (5-8 butterfly | Edmonton, AB)
 
Strydom is the headliner of this year’s recruiting class as she is a member of the Canadian Junior National Team as well as the Junior Pan Pacific Team.
 
The Edmonton native also won a bronze medal at last summer’s Canada Games in Sherbrooke, Que., swimming to third in the 200m butterfly race in a time of 2:16.35.
 
On top of all her achievements in the pool, Strydom will begin her studies in the Faculty of Science as one of UBC’s Chancellor’s Scholars. The select designation recognizes the outstanding academic achievements of high-school and post-secondary students entering their first year at the school.
 
MOLLY WEDGE (5-7 butterfly, freestyle | Summerside, PEI)
 
Wedge is transferring to UBC after swimming the past three seasons for the Dalhousie University Tigers of Halifax.
 
As a rookie, the Summerside, P.E.I. native finished eighth in the 100m freestyle event at the 2012 CIS championships with a time of 57.64. In 2013, she earned a spot in the A-final of 50m freestyle race at the national university meet, placing sixth (26.15).
 
At the 2014 CIS meet, Wedge was 10th in the 50 free and 16th in the 100 free with a faster time than in 2012. She was also 11th in the 200m freestyle.
 
Brundage, Stamp, Strydom and Wedge join a UBC women’s program that has lost just two swimmers from last year’s championship roster to graduation. The team returns reigning CIS Female Swimmer of the Year and Rookie of the Year Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson, two-time Olympian and three-time Canada West Female Swimmer of the Year Savannah King, as well as 2012 Olympians Heather MacLean and Tera Van Beilen.
 
The 2014-15 Canada West season will begin in the fall, leading up to the conference championships Nov. 21-23 in Lethbridge, Alta. and the CIS meet Feb. 19-21 in Victoria. 

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Patrick Brundage

Admittedly, I am biased, but it looks like a great recruiting class 🙂

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