TOP RECRUITS STAYING IN CANADA
Swimming Canada – OTTAWA- Two promising young swimmers have decided to continue their careers in Canada, choosing the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre network as the best place for their development.
Markus Thormeyer of Delta, B.C., has committed to the HPC-Vancouver while Josh Zakala of Kelowna, B.C., will be joining the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific NextGen swimming program in Victoria.
Thormeyer, 18, made his senior national team debut in 2015 at the Pan Am Games in Toronto. He swam the morning heat of the 4×100-m freestyle relay, which earned a bronze medal. Individually he was seventh in the 100-m backstroke.
He went on to compete at the FINA World Junior Championships in Singapore, where he helped Canada win gold in the 4×100-m mixed freestyle relay at the FINA World Junior Championships.
“It’s a real positive thing for Canadian swimming and obviously for the national centre program here in Vancouver to have somebody who’s that calibre,” said HPC-Van Head Coach Tom Johnson. “Those athletes who have won medals for us in the international arena predominantly come from the Canadian system, and we want to keep that going. Whether it’s (Brent) Hayden, (Emily) Overholt, (Ryan) Cochrane, (Hilary) Caldwell, that’s where the medals are coming. If things go well for him in the future, that’s the level he’ll be at.”
Thormeyer had already been training with the HPC-VAN while weighing his options for next year. He plans to enroll in the University of British Columbia in the fall and study science.
“I’m ultimately focused on high performance and international racing and I thought that staying in Vancouver would help me achieve my goals in swimming the best. After training with the team for so long and getting to know everyone I just couldn’t leave them,” Thormeyer said.
Zakala, meanwhile, will be swimming with Brad Dingey in the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific NextGen swimming program in Victoria, which works closely with the HPC-Victoria.
The versatile swimmer has shown an aptitude for long distance events, including open water swimming, and also has backstroke and individual medley in his repertoire.
“Athletes with Josh’s versatility are rare,” said HPC-VIC Head Coach Ryan Mallette. “It speaks a lot towards his talent as well as the tremendous job his coaches Peter Wilkins and Emil Dimitrov have done through his development. He is a young man with a clear picture of where he wants to go and how hard you need to work to get there. We feel this attitude fits perfectly with our training environment in Victoria.”
Zakala is looking forward to learning alongside such athletes as Ryan Cochrane, a two-time Olympic medallist in the 1,500-m freestyle, and Eric Hedlin, a world championship medallist in open water.
“I like the team environment and atmosphere. Everyone is pushing each other at the end of a set and motivating each other,” said Zakala, who plans to study civil engineering at the University of Victoria.
Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson was pleased to see the centres continuing to attract new blood.
“It’s great that talented swimmers such as Markus and Josh are choosing the world-class daily training environments that our High Performance Centres provide,” Atkinson said. “It’s a great benefit to our athletes to be able to train at home, and develop in the pool – as well as outside the pool in their pursuit of educational and other opportunities.”