KISU hosting benchmark meet

KISU swim meet attracts high level talent including Pan Am gold medal winner Kierra Smith

The KISU swim club’s opening season meet is being used as a benchmark.

That’s how coach Tina Hoeben is viewing the Barnett Construction Triple Pentathlon at the Penticton Community Centre Oct.16-18, which is attracting 270 of the region’s best. Those swimmers represent Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Summerland, Trail, Shuswap and the Kootenays.

“It’s good for goal setting to see where we’re at. It gives us an idea of where we want to go,” said Hoeben. “I would like to win it. We had a very successful season last year, but we didn’t win this meet last year.”

KISU took second. Hoeben is pleased with where her swimmers are in terms of training. She has seen a more focused group that is eager to build off of last season. Along with the focus, there is more support among the swimmers and good spirit.

Another aspect that excites Hoeben is the quality of swimmers competing.

“We have some very fast swimmers coming to our meet,” said Hoeben, who has taken a glance of the sheet that shows who is attending.

Among the group competing is Canada’s Kierra Smith, who won gold at the Pan Am Games in Toronto. She will be joined by Kelowna’s Josh Zakala, who has been on the Canadian youth national team. Locally there will be Andrew Cooke and Riley McLean, KISU’s Para Pan Am athletes as well as provincial members Jaren LeFranc, Riley Wall, Tyler Wall and Sam Lasinski.

Two members of KISU, Xelian Louw and Samuel Matthews, share her excitement for the weekend. Louw said its by far one of the most fun meets for him. Part of it is hanging out with the athletes and the other is the accomplishments made. Louw always looks forward to meeting new goals and he’s been training hard to accomplish that. Working against Louw, however, is an illness. He is simply hoping to accomplish more personal best times.

Matthews is a new addition for the season. Matthews has competed with the Nelson Neptunes, but due to a pool closure for the year, he decided to come to Penticton. Having trained with KISU before, that familiarity resulted in him wanting to join the club as he also wanted to increase his training.

“It’s been good so far,” he said.

Typically a breast stroke swimmer, Matthews has made improvements in his butterfly and backstroke.

“There has been technique things to fix up,” he said. “It will be good to put those into action. See if I can take off some time.”

The public is invited to come and watch the meet starting Friday at 4 p.m. and continues Saturday and Sunday morning. The club said some of the faces seen this weekend may compete at the Olympic Games this summer in Brazil or in Tokyo in 2020.

In other KISU news, the club had eight swimmers qualify for the 12 and under regionals: Evan Peters, Elijah Kliever, Ashley McMillan, Marlee Caruso, Alice Wang, Justin Fotherby, Hayden Krause and Liam Wallich. They also had the Wall brothers and Lasinski make the prospects team for 13 to 16 year olds. Swimmers for that are selected from the top in B.C. and will attend a camp in Kelowna Nov. 15-16.