Men's Swimming

UBC Olympian Kisil ‘The Missile’ making a splash with Thunderbirds

UBC Olympian Kisil ‘The Missile’ making a splash with Thunderbirds

By Austin Stanton, U SPORTS Swimming Correspondent

The Missile has been reloaded. 

Last month, Canada West superstar and Rio Olympian, Yuri Kisil, won a bronze medal at the 2016 FINA world short course championships in Windsor, Ont. Leading off the 4x50-metre mixed freestyle, the podium finish capped a successful first half of the season for the - Thunderbird swimmer, Kisil's second with UBC  after competing in four events at the Rio Olympics over the summer. 

Kisil's Olympic training regimen would have had most people ready to throw in the towel after a day. For about a year, he was in the water nine times a week, lifting weights twice, and doing three dryland workouts for a weekly total of 25 hours.

After such an intense schedule training for Rio, you might think Kisil would taper down his workout regimen to make adjusting to life as a varsity athlete a little bit easier.

No chance. Kisil is continuing to train 25 hours a week. The only difference now is that he has to hit the library. 



This season for the Thunderbirds, Kisil has had a rather large impact. His teammates, coaches, and competition all expected big things from the Olympian coming into the season, and he has delivered. He's helped UBC win the Canada West Championships, and set a conference record in the 50-metre freestyle along the way. 

In order to live up these expectations, there are times when Kisil has to put his social life on the backburner, something he's been comfortable with since he was a teenager in high school. 

"You just have to pick and choose your battles," said Kisil. "Some Friday nights I will go out, but if you're a man at night, you have to be a man in the morning." 

In other words, if he enjoys a night out with his friends, Kisil still has to show up to the pool at 5:00 a.m. Saturday morning, no matter how he's feeling. More often than not, he passes on his friend's invitations.

"Now I kind of have a rep to hold up," said the arts major. "I want to go and do really well. It's not worth sacrificing that for a night of fun."



In addition to wanting to perform in the pool, Kisil has another goal for this season: helping his fellow Thunderbirds any way he can. 

Having competed at numerous major international meets the past couple years, Kisil believes he has something to offer his teammates other than stroke advice. 

"I've been under high stress situations, so I've learned how to deal with that," said Kisil. "Being there for my teammates is my biggest goal this year."

UBC's head coach, Steve Price, echoed Kisil's statement about what the young Albertan will bring to the team fresh off his Olympic experience. 

"He's a real positive guy, who has a good perspective on swimming," said Price. "Just having him around will be have good calming effect, especially on our rookies." 

In addition to seeing success in his individual events in Rio, Kisil was a member of the Canadian men's 4x100-metre freestyle relay team that placed  seventh in Rio, while also competing at the 2014 Commonwealth and Pan-Pacific Games. He also recently captured a pair of medals in a Pro Swim series meet in Austin, Texas – a bronze in the 100-metre freestyle to go along with silver in the 50-metre freestyle. 

Price is glad to have a member of his team with an international pedigree. 

"Having Yuri, who has had some success internationally in both his individual events and his relays, with relays being a big part of university swimming, will be huge," he said. 


Other news: 

UBC Athletics and Recreation unveils state-of-the-art UBC Aquatic Centre


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