Eager to make splash at summer games

KISU swimmers look to perform well in B.C. Summer Games

Mackenzie Wallich

Mackenzie Wallich

KISU swim club members are eager for a memorable experience in the B.C. Summer Games that begin Thursday in Nanaimo.

KISU has 11 members participating: Acacia Benn, Annalise Spence, Belize Souch-Tremblay, Mackenzie Wallich, Myah Nackoney, Tyler Wall, Daniel Everton, Keaton Woods, Xelian Louw, special Olympian Amanda Schleppe and para swimmer Hector Greig.

Spence is returning to the B.C. Games for the second time, but it is her first summer event.

She represented the Apex Freestyle Club in the 2014 winter games in Mission and picked up a silver medal in youth moguls. Spence expects the experience to be similar to the winter games.

“It’s going to be really fun swimming with all my teammates,” said Spence, adding that she feels nervous and some pressure to perform well. “I never thought I would go to the winter games and summer games. I thought it was like a long chance.”

Spence wants to add to her experience and earn personal best times with hopes she will be rewarded with a medal.

Benn is excited for her debut and is confident about what she can do.

“It’s going to be very exciting with so many teammates,” said Benn, who is also looking forward to meeting other athletes and maybe some volunteers. “We will all be able to cheer each other on.”

Greig feels good about qualifying and is excited about what it will be like. Among the events he will compete in are the 50-metre freestyle and 100-m fly.

Greig is going in with the attitude to have fun, put in strong performances and hopefully win a medal.

Souch-Tremblay is excited to go as the second alternate. Her goal is to earn best times.

“I think it will be hard competing at the games,” said Souch-Tremblay, adding this will be the highlight of her season.

The Thompson-Okanagan zone team has 28 members, including special Olympic and para swimmers, who posted the quickest times in each of their swim events.

KISU coach Tina Hoeben said she is proud of the number of swimmers they have on the team. Hoeben said she feels they will perform well and part of it is because they will be swimming in short distance events, while the team has been training for long-course meets the last few months.

“I think they will grab some enthusiasm and swim very well,” she said. “It’s great exposure to probably their first experience going to a multi-sport games. It’s a really good stepping stone to get that experience. It doesn’t come around very often. It feels a lot like the Olympics. That’s the pinnacle. This is just the very first step.”